reframing the leader 'bitch'

Sheryl Sandberg talks about how female leaders, from toddlerhood to CEO must contend with the word bossy, aka, bitch. 

Lemme 'splain. You know that woman you work with...the one who's always speaking up, asserting her take on things and assuming everyone will follow her lead? The one who's fast on the draw, self-assured, confident, maybe al little enigmatic, interrupts your train of thought, and persistently entreats you to adopt her point of view?

You know her all too well. She's the one that will do anything to forward her agenda and get ahead. She's a powerhouse. And you avoid her at all costs.

Yeah, you know, the bitch.

You might never be inclined to call her a leader, even though her traits are classically associated with (male?) leadership.

I invite you to see things in a different light.

You and I, my friend, like all of our sisters (and brothers), have drunk the Bias Kool-Aid. The Bias runs deep, informed by eons of cultural conditioning that tells us women should not, must not, ever be opinionated, contentious, demanding or self-serving, and should instead be accommodating, conciliatory and operate at all times for the greater good. In other words, shut up, overwork and overproduce, don't rock the boat or ever ask for anything in return.

This week, I want you to consider making friends with the Bitch. Yes, the leader. Ask her to lunch. Ask her what she wants and needs, and what she's passionate about. Ask her where she needs support. What you discover may just transform your relationship with power, and lead to an influential partnership in which you bring your innate strengths and work/life experiences to accomplish a common goal.

She's not a bitch. She's you on your best day.

And if we want the workplace to look more like us, we need both of you to see each other in another light.