Pat On The Back or Seat At The Table?
What Women Leaders Must Do More To #LeadLikeAQueen
For many women, this thing called leadership can sometimes be a bit mysterious and scary. That is because most women are never taught any leadership skills. And, for those of us who do step up as leaders, we are shunned and shushed and told to just sit down and be quiet. And when we refuse to sit down and be quiet, then we are shamed and called names like “pushy” and other five letter words that I won’t repeat.
Most women are overlooked for leadership training by the men who lead the organizations and companies in which they are involved or work. Especially in traditional institutions, the focus of current leaders is on raising up men to continue leading in the place of the men who went before them. So, the men get the mentorship and training, while the women are held in traditionally expected and accepted roles of service with little to no real leadership training.
So, what does that mean for you as a woman leader? It means that you have to seek out training and mentorship on purpose more than your male peers do. Opportunities will probably not just fall in your lap as often as it does for them. It also means that you need to expect and ask for current leaders you work with to step up as advocates for you. Look to them to speak up for you, instead of just expecting them to pat you on the back. Pats on the back feel good for a minute, but they don’t help you to keep growing as a leader.
So, basically, I am saying that you, woman leader, have to be more intentional than the men around you. You have to, on purpose, go after every opportunity to keep learning. This is what can help you transform into the stronger, more confident leader you want to be.
I am not saying that you should not seek accolades or recognition. Getting a pat on the back has an important place, too. However, those pats can never take the place of good training and mentorship. Having an advocate to help you get more access to a seat at that table is what will help you over the long-term. And, as you keep sitting there, you will transform into a leader who consistently receives pats on the back and more on an even higher level.
So go for that seat on purpose! And for those of you who are already going for it: never give up or quiet down. Never dim your light to please people who want to keep you in a place you don’t belong in. The world needs you to be seated at that table. You are a unique gift that God will use to help make the world better.
Take your place, Sister. 😉
~ Donna Marie Johnson
Learn about my leadership development series at LeadLikeAQueen.com
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