Dear Deluded Wannabe:
I realize that you are not self-aware enough to understand how you come across to others. You can’t possibly be self-aware, for if you were, you would not be acting in ways that both alienate and elicit sympathy. Therefore, I’d like to school you about a few things, to wit –
1) Wife-and-motherhood are not empirically superior positions. – especially when they are the only positions you have ever known. It makes you feel good about yourself, I know, to insist that I’ve taken the position that I’ve taken because I am not a wife and I have furthermore never been a mother, and therefore I lack the depth to understand that my position is WRONG. Correction – I have myriad experience with the real world beyond the sheltering, insulating walls of the home, and the fact is, this makes my depth more than sufficient to drown you. You fear a good drowning, so you ha ha ha make jokes and laugh knowingly about how my childless state renders me inferior to you. OK, I’ll take the inferiority of childlessness over the the asinine and pathetic display of insecurity you’ve been exhibiting for the past 5 weeks that we’ve been working together. Whatever makes you feel better about yourself, relieves your anxiety, and gets you through the ordeal of having to deliver a project in partnership with a woman of the world.
2) Leadership is about much more than the desire and propensity to be bossy. Leadership is not defined as giving orders, making demands, forcing your will upon others. I realize that ordering, demanding and forcing are all verbs, but that’s about all they’ve got in common with leading. Leadership is when people follow you, not because they have to, but because they want to. And the reason they want to is because the leader was effective at inspiring them to do so, in motivating them all in the same direction. The leader models a behavior and those who follow imitate that behavior because it resonates, because they recognize it as behavior that will result in success, and they want to be a part of that success. Leadership is a skill. Bossiness is just selfishness in disguise, another attempt to feel better about one’s self through domination rather than persuasion. In the end, you don’t have admirers or friends – you have people who will avoid you next time because they don’t want to be bossed at all, much less by someone who gets it wrong most of the time. And the reason you get it wrong most of the time is because –
3)Listening is the most important yet under-rated skill of a good leader. A team’s diversity of experience is the most valuable asset a leader has. It makes a leader wealthy. What makes a leader wise is the ability to discern what each team member brings to the table, and then leveraging those skills as appropriate. You never found out what everyone was good at, because you never listened. You just blabbed and bossed. This is why you flopped, and why I was able to course-correct weeks of failure within 15 minutes. That whole time while you were blabbing and bossing, I was listening. This is not rocket science, and it’s not hard. You have weapons at your disposal; you just didn’t know it because you don’t reach out. You’re all about you, you, you, hungry little you. Gaining success by leveraging the skills of the team would have filled you up. Instead, you are pouting in the corner because you didn’t get your way.
And it’s all my big, bad fault. Shame on me. If only I’d had some children… *insert eye-roll here*
© 2011, Erin. All rights reserved.