Dear Deluded Wannabe

102320091313-WDW-DAK-Expedition-Everest-Single-RiderDear 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*

4 thoughts on “Dear Deluded Wannabe”

  1. I am so fortunate to work for a strong woman, who wants her team to succeed. Her leadership skills are exactly what you describe. She leverages the strengths of her team, she allows us to spread our wings, she mentors us, she believes in us so that we believe in ourselves. When I had to get a job after staying at home for 15 years, I truly thought I would be answering phones and filing. I can’t believer the things I’m doing today. My opinion is valued. I am trusted to be assigned a project and run with it b/c they are confident in my abilities.

    I have the misfortune to work with a woman, who has delusions of grandeur. She is bossy. She comes off abrasive. Nobody in the company cooperates with her b/c she is not a team player. She asks our development or services team for help, and they complain and don’t deliver. I ask, and they bend over backwards to help b/c I don’t treat them like they work for me. It’s a shame b/c she is smart and creative, but she is ineffective as an employee for the very reasons you describe.

    Take heart though. She almost just got fired b/c of her ways. She pulled out the “woman card” and accused the owner of the company of undermining the females that work in his company. Huh? Two of his three VP’s are female…and they would follow this man to hell. The only reason she is still around is from fear of a lawsuit. They can’t get rid of her. She currently has been stripped of most of her duties, which were given to me. She works outside of the team and is assigned projects that are not team oriented. She has been told that I am no longer around to do her grunt work as Marketing Assistant, and she has to do it herself. I am now in charge of a project that she failed miserably at…redesigning our website and directing the graphics artist. She failed b/c she was a bossy control freak. At least she got knocked off of her high horse. Karma’s a bitch.

    For what it is worth, being a mother has enriched my life but it in no way defines all of who I am. You have found that same enrichment by being a loving Aunt. I have never understood why some people just don’t get that. How on earth am I more capable than you because I have spawn?

    Great post!

  2. @Gayle, not sure what you mean by **crickets** but it’s one of my favorite things to say when there is silence from the other end of a conference call. It usually makes people laugh and loosen up enough to speak their minds. Anyway, for clarification, I mean absolutely no disrespect to people who have spent their lives in the home being wives and mothers, UNLESS they are also under the mistaken impression that the fact that I didn’t do the same automatically makes me inferior to them.

    @*1L, I am glad you got the opportunity that you did. Most people would kill for a web presence/social media position and you got one! I hope the job stimulates and excites you in addition to paying you – and if it doesn’t, then pass it along in this direction ;)

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