Ever have an AHA that also turned into a palm-to-the-forehead moment too?
This week I was chatting with my Savor circle and a topic for discussion was how to deal with making connections for clients. In short, she was getting some pressure to open up her rolodex (remember those?) to help a client bring in revenue.
She is willing to do this, but she wanted to do it on her terms. She knew that both parties would be better served if she reached out first, gathered some information and then helped her client approach the contact with an opportunity that was a win/win.
It’s business 101.
The problem? She doesn’t like the fact that she feels pressure to do this in a way that’s not in alignment with how she does business. She also doesn’t want to upset the client or give the impression she’s not willing to be helpful.
All of us were chiming in with how she could handle this when one member said, yeah, “all these suggestions are great but you know what? If you were a man you’d just say this is how and when I’ll make the introduction” and that would be that.
AHA. Forehead slap.
This is a group of smart, successful, professional women. Among us are advanced degrees, C level management and plenty of experience dealing with all kinds of people in all sorts of business situations.
But our default position was to be concerned about how we’re perceived and how to word the information so the client feels heard and supported.
Those aren’t bad traits.
If asked, I’d prefer that style to any other. And yet, at times it doesn’t serve us a women business owners and leaders.
This isn’t new territory. Women are taught to be team-players vs. authoritarian (it’s nicer) we’re told to make suggestions instead of demands (even when we’re the boss) and of course, we’re expected to make others else feel comfortable even if it creates discomfort for us.
No wonder all 5 of us in the discussion had left the corporate life for entrepreneurship.
Women are strong and capable in leadership positions. I’m proud to know many women doing amazing things as they build businesses on their terms.
And for today, I’m glad for the perspective. It reminds me that I can own my power in the way that is right for me.
That’s an AHA I can enjoy without the forehead slap.
How do you own it?
photo credit: Tim Gouw, Unsplash