It seems today’s buzz word for women is “leadership.” It’s in the title of nearly every self-help book for the professional woman, a topic at every women’s seminar, and ubiquitous on social media. As if only by improving leadership skills can a woman hope to get where she wants professionally or get what she wants personally. Baloney! This message and implication is not only untrue but unfair to all of those women who are not and will never be ”leaders.” Does it mean that they are stuck and in an endless state of dissatisfaction? The truth is that leadership skills and tactics only work for those in leader or higher status positions. If they are implemented by anyone who’s not the leader (the majority of us most of the time) so-called leadership tactics can not only fail, but backfire.
Don’t get me wrong. People in management or other leader positions, especially women, need leadership skills and tools! What’s been missing in the literature and in our common conversation, however, has been the recognition and discussion of “non-leader” or “non-boss” skills that help women move up into leader positions at work if that is their goal, or simply get more of what they want in their present place. Which brings me to another pet peeve: Not everyone wants or needs to “move up!” Who made that rule? It’s caused many women to feel guilty for years about choosing to be happy with where they are instead of where society or peer pressure says they should be. I want to help change that.