Have I been called a “bulldog” by my former bosses? Yes. Am I a decisive leader who is confident in my presentation style? Yes. So, am I pushy or passionate?
This week I was called “pushy” by someone. Wow-really? Hmmmm…It really made me think broadly about how people are perceived and the role gender plays in that process. When a woman is strong and confident, do people view her as pushy or passionate? Are men perceived differently when exhibiting the exact same qualities?
No doubt, I am passionate in everything I do. I have energy to burn and project that in my interaction with people. Even in grade school and high school, I was a leader in 4H and other clubs. It’s just in my DNA. I attribute this to my Mom who is smart as a whip and a natural-born leader in all that she does. We were lucky to have her as a strong role model growing up. My attorney sister and I followed in her very able footsteps.
The reality of life is that when a woman leader is confident and strong she is viewed differently than when a man exhibits the same qualities. He is a “force to be reckoned with” and will surely succeed in the business world. The woman with the same qualities might be labelled “one scary bitch”…watch out. As I binge-watch House of Cards, I’m thinking that Claire Underwood might qualify as “one scary bitch” but me, no way! As Frank battles Claire this season, he will be following his own advice that he shared on the campaign trail with college students, “A true leader embraces challenge.”
I’ll also take Frank’s wise advice and embrace challenges. I will win over those who mistake my passion for “pushy” once they get to know me and I will never give up. Because that’s who I am and that’s what I do.