Louder is not Leader
I read an article recently, which talked about how women felt the need to be loud to be taken seriously at the workplace.
I have seen it around a lot: how we think that somehow, aggression is assertiveness – we feel we are not taken seriously unless we push people around.
Women have been conditioned to be soft spoken and compliant. We have been trying to talk ourselves out of this mind-set, and, somehow, pushing harder and being louder seems to be the only way of doing it. I always have been a “loud” person – I speak my mind and I have found myself at the receiving end of advice from “well-wishers”. Like: “It’s a new job, don’t be so aggressive; this will help later when you are a manager”, or “You will be good at leading projects – you are loud and you can scream at people if they don’t listen to you”.
I feel – if I am getting advice like this, what are the soft spoken ones told? Do women feel the need to be aggressive in their professional space, if they have to climb up? When we see our male peers, do we emulate them, without realising or meaning to?
“You don’t need to be an outspoken, aggressive person to lead. It’s time for women to stop mimicking one version of an extroverted executive, stop pushing for conformity. It’s damaging on a personal level, and it hurts the women’s movement as a whole.”
We need to understand that a workplace needs to have a balance of energies to flourish. So, while assertiveness and decisiveness (male energies) play a part in moving forward, emotional intelligence and nurturing (female energies) play an important role in sustaining the progress.
We need to revisit our definitions of leadership and break certain stereotypes at the workplace. While more organisations are recognising the need for re-analysing the existing work culture, much more awareness and change is needed for us to truly have an inclusive culture.