What does it look like to be a powerful woman in the 21st Century? Powerful and authentically female?
Great question, isn’t it? One I don’t believe many are asking today. Instead, the question we as females should be asking is how we fit in as women in a man’s world. Some believe the more women act like men, the better it will go for them in the work world. While this may be likely true on one level, the statistics show there is still a glaring lack of women in top leadership positions. So, is it really working for us? Is mirroring men in the workforce, emotionally and otherwise, really beneficial for women?
When we hear the word Da Vinci, we feel the weight of greatness upon that name. It’s not just a word, but perhaps a phenomenon demanding honor and even awe. When you hear the name, “Mona Lisa,” a wildly known Da Vinci painting comes to mind. When you hear “Fauxna Lisa” a $25,000 knock-off of the Da Vinci Mona Lisa, you may raise an eyebrow at the price, but likely you won’t feel awe and honor or even remember the painter’s name is Mark Landis. Why? Because the Fauxna Lisa is hanging in a coffee shop, a replica of something else that is an original, where it is said that 6 million people view the real Mona Lisa annually at the Louvre.
When women become male-like at work (act like men), we essentially become a Fauxna Lisa. Yes, we may carry an eyebrow raising salary assigning a value to us; but imagine being the priceless women we truly are and bringing that through the work doors. When we try to become someone else, especially another gender, we leave behind some of our most valuable authentic assets and present at best a replica of something else that may be great (or may not be great).
Women, our brains are wired differently than men’s brains, and instead of fighting this, we need to begin to embrace this difference. This doesn’t necessarily mean showing every emotion we feel in every setting, though. Is it okay to cry at work? In this day and age, I’d say “don’t,” unless you are in private with another female you trust. But as far as crying at work in front of men, I’d refrain. Instead, use your words. Men are not typically wired this way, are not comfortable with emotions, and it brings an element of “the personal” into an arena that prides itself on saying, “It’s not personal.”
Will it always be this way? I hope not . . . But for now, we need to start with ourselves. Understanding the amazingness it is to be a female . . . intelligent, determined, nurturing, visionaries, protective, creative . . . I could go on, but for now, you be you and start bringing who you are into the office. Believe in you, listen, hear, speak-up, see . . . Because you are needed! And eventually in being authentically your best you, you will not just be needed, you will… we will… be wanted for who we are, because as women, we truly are amazing.
Would love to hear stories of how you brought your authentic, amazing self as a woman to impact your organization!
Barbara E Hogan is the Founder, CEO, and President of Timbelo, Inc., a woman-owned, WBENC / SBA 8(m) certified company specializing in strategic advisory services and culture. Barbara is also a co-Owner of Afidence, a local award-winning IT company launched in 2010.Considered a thought leader in strategic thinking, Barbara serves and leads in various Boards and Councils in the Cincinnati-Dayton region. Active in the community, Barbara is sought out as an inspirational speaker, a panelist for women's leadership, and as a facilitator/moderator for local business events. Barbara and husband, Bryan Hogan of twenty-five years celebrate their three amazing children and four even more amazing grandchildren. Barbara is also an Ordained, Sr. Chaplain with the IFOC.
Barbara has a compelling passion for impacting others and improving lives. Whether in the realm of her personal or professional life there is no distinction—people are important. She has a strong sense of integrity, bold thought leadership, and deep respect for others.
Recipient of the MADE Esprit de Corps Award in 2016 and recognized as a Cincinnati Women of Influence in 2015 by LEAD Tribune Media Group. Afidence was recognized as the Best IT Services Company in Dayton, named among the Top 25 Consulting Firms in Cincinnati, Ohio, was an honored recipient of the Goering Center Family & Private Business Award, and named as an Inc. 5000 Company in 2016 and 2017.