“Driven and Feisty”
I was recently referred to as “driven and feisty” by a former work colleague (albeit not a close one) when a CEO was unofficially getting feedback on me for a potential position in his organization. The executive recruiter said that he wasn’t sure if the former colleague meant it in a negative way or not, but thankfully, the CEO viewed the description as positive. However, this left me thinking about an important issue we still face in the professional world: gendered language in describing leadership traits. The words used to describe me (and others I’ve heard in the past), when applied to a woman, are often perceived and/or intended to be negative. In contrast, they can convey entirely different sentiments, perhaps celebrated even, when used to describe men.
It’s high time we challenge these stereotypes and work towards normalizing strong leadership actions, language, and behaviours, regardless of gender.
Strength, determination, assertiveness, and the ability to advocate and challenge ideas are qualities that should be celebrated and encouraged in every workplace. These traits are not defined by gender but by one’s capabilities and commitment to their role and team.
🚀 Driven: Being driven means having a relentless pursuit of goals, showing determination, ambition, and dedication to achieving success. This is a quality that should be commended in anyone, regardless of their gender. Let’s acknowledge and support those who demonstrate this unwavering commitment, period.
💪 Feisty: Feistiness is about standing up for what you believe in, being resilient, and not backing down in the face of challenges. These are qualities that contribute to a more inclusive, diverse, and innovative work environment. We should encourage individuals to be assertive and unafraid to advocate for their ideas and challenging the status quo.
Am I driven and feisty? You bet I am. Unstoppable is the way I regularly describe this philosophy. I can share countless professional stories…the picture I share is a personal one – 15 months ago, I was taken to the hospital in an ambulance after a freak accident on my electric scooter. Beyond the cuts and bruises, I broke both arms and shattered my kneecap requiring two surgeries – I was in a wheelchair for months and required significant rehab. I fought back – gained mobility and strength and lost the weight that came on during that time. Professionally, no one questioned my drive, my feistiness when I worked online just two days after the accident, my choice, not the ask from my employer, because I had important work to deliver and teams to support. The second picture, me back on that same scooter, on the same road the accident occurred, this past weekend.
In the workplace, we need to recognize and embrace the positive aspects of strong leadership, such as determination, resilience, assertiveness, and advocacy. These qualities drive innovation, foster inclusivity, and lead to progress. Let’s promote a culture that values these attributes in everyone, irrespective of their gender.
💼 Why does it matter?
- Equality: Promoting a more equitable workplace means acknowledging and appreciating the unique strengths and talents that each individual brings, without bias or stereotypes.
- Innovation: Encouraging diverse leadership styles leads to more innovative problem-solving and decision-making, which is crucial in today’s rapidly changing business landscape.
- Empowerment: When we create an environment where strong leadership qualities are celebrated, we empower individuals to reach their full potential, contributing to their own success and that of their organization.
Let’s challenge the status quo, eliminate gender biases, and celebrate strong leadership qualities in all their forms. When we do this, we create a workplace where everyone feels valued, empowered, and free to bring their best to the table.
Join me in this journey towards a more inclusive and diverse workplace culture. Together, we can change the narrative and champion strong leadership as a positive force for growth, progress, and success.