Women who get angry have to deal with godawful labels - bossy, bitch, feisty, shrill. Years ago, a mentor tried to help me by saying, "Learn how to disagree agreeably," even though I had never disagreed with him. I was impressionable and his words seeped into my consciousness.
I replaced "No!" with "You have to consider the consequences of" and "That is BS!" morphed into "Here's when that will not hold".
To be sure, this requires a higher level of consciousness - to react while knowing how to react.
I recently came across this article on a Harvard website - "Can An Angry Woman Get Ahead?" Naturally, it caught my attention.
Research shows that angry men are viewed with respect and given a higher status, their anger attributed to external factors that provoked them. Angry women are accorded a lower status, their anger seen as a mark of internal weakness and poor temperament.
Indra Nooyi said (I am paraphrasing), we have two eyes, two ears, and one mouth and we all need to observe and listen more, talk less. Great advice! On the flip side, you can't get ahead just by listening and observing.
Recently I was in a meeting where opposing viewpoints collided. I listened and observed carefully and then spoke to advocate for the minority viewpoint because it had merit and the other side had bullies. When I got intense pushback, I didn't care about "agreeably". In no uncertain terms and in a targeted way, I laid out the negative consequences of the preferred approach.
While I was talking, I knew better than to let a tirade hang in the air. At the end, I smiled and said - I am not angry, I'm very passionate about this. Later that day, the decision moved in the right direction. Reacting while planning the delivery - I wish this was taught in grade school!
We had hoped to have a daughter, even had a name for her. A girl we could raise to take on the world but providence had different plans. Our boys gave us an unexpected opportunity - to influence the other half to listen and observe before speaking - and we are proud to say, they do this exceptionally well.
To all the young girls and young female professionals in my life, never forget there is every reason for you to shine, to lead, and to deliver results. Don't forget to use the eyes and ears to observe and listen and then assertively give voice to your confidence.
And never ever forget, despite all the labels...
(Image from the whitonline.com)