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Women Were Raised To Be Nice. So What?

It’s been said that men view business as a sport and women view business as a picnic. In other words, men want to win while women want to make sure everyone has a sandwich and a good time. As you may have noticed, women have been repeatedly bashed for this, as if “playing nice” were a pathetic and career-limiting move.

The following is an excerpt from Who Says It’s a Man’s World. Used by permission by author.

It’s been said that men view business as a sport and women view business as a picnic. In other words, men want to win while women want to make sure everyone has a sandwich and a good time. As you may have noticed, women have been repeatedly bashed for this, as if “playing nice” were a pathetic and career-limiting move.

But is it really?

I mean, if there’s one thing we should all know by now, it’s that managing by power, aggression and fear only creates a sicko race to the bottom, which–of course–is fantastic news for us girls. Because if ever there was a time when women should absolutely crush it as leaders, it’s right now.

The rise of social media, coupled with the fall of some reckless corporate giants, has created a workforce that is savvy, cynical, and doesn’t stand for anything iron-fisted, closed-door, or homogenized. We want our leaders not only to be transparent, but to earn our respect, and those who manage “the old way” (that is, by authority alone) will be lapped by those who co-innovate from the front line. Sweeeet, right? Because while there are some areas where us girls (admittedly) miss the mark, leading by co-innovation isn’t one of them.

And the reason this is all so gosh-darned important to you, dear reader, is because team building is a make-or-break career skill. To be successful in today’s workforce, you have to know how to pull the best from other people–and it ain’t about authority.

I shouldn’t have to say it, but I will anyway: Being kind doesn’t mean lowering the bar on what you expect from other people. It simply means you don’t have to browbeat them to get it. The command-and-control model is dead. Do you hear me? Dead. We don’t need any more “leaders” with a stick up their ass. We need people who can ignite–particularly in corporate offices where everyone is walking around in zombie-like trances doing things because they’re being “compliant,” not because they’re motivated.

What is more motivating–the team leader who forces or the leader who encourages? If it’s clearly the one who encourages, then how can the solution to our gender-based leadership gap possibly be to make women meaner? Honestly, the next time you’re listening to someone wax on about how women need to “get tougher” I want you to take off your shoe and throw it at their head. How’s that for playing nice?

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