As a customer, I tend towards the side of being agreeable, happy, and unimposing. Even though I don’t like drinking water with ice, I reluctantly accept it at restaurants out of not wanting to be too “fussy.” I never send back food unless the dish is profoundly flawed. (Having worked in restaurants for years, I just wouldn’t do that out of etiquette!) As a lady boss, this is not a good sign.
This is all indicative of me not taking a stand for what I really want. As benign as room temperature water may be, it’s actually symbolic of a bigger pattern that’s affected me in business and how I operate as a strong woman leader—getting lost in my own shadow.
Since I am extremely relationship oriented (I am a Libra rising after all) I have a tendency to be so sensitive to the feelings of others, sometimes at the expense of my own. I can remember bumping up against a shadow tendency in managing an important project in my business—a moment where sticking to my guns felt super awkward because I had to take a stand for an unpopular opinion. Doing so, I harshly judged myself for being a “bitch.”
This moment was tough, but it taught me this: making sure any project gets done to my liking means asking for what I want—and consequently risking being negatively perceived in the process. It’s part of being a leader, and it’s OK, cause it’s going to happen.
Now don’t get me wrong. Being compassionate and empathetic is a serious pro in my leadership style, assuming I do it with the appropriate boundaries! As a lady boss, I have to be vigilant about asking for what I need, holding my team accountable for delivering the required results, and giving thorough feedback too. I’d be lying if I said this is always easy. It’s not.
I’m sure you can relate to the idea that asking for what you want sometimes feels hard?! Sometimes I feel as women we go along to get along, since our survival, health and happiness benefit from working well with others.
Yet, this “I don’t want to ruffle any feathers” approach doesn’t allow us always to be our most authentic selves, and it’s a surefire way to sabotage our best collaborative efforts. Not good, lady bosses!
As women leaders, we need to take a stand for what we want. We can’t do all the work alone, which means outcomes are influenced by how we manage and collaborate with others.
And a core part about being a strong woman leader? Self-leadership.
I think you know where I’m going with this. Before we can be great lady bosses for others, we have to be great lady bosses for ourselves. And that means going deep and owning your shit. Time to get real!
Now is a strong time to take a look at how we are showing up as the strong lady bosses we can be—and how we might be holding ourselves back.
For the sake of total transparency, I want to share some of the most unhealthy interpersonal behaviors of my past. Take a read and see if you resonate with any of them. (I know I am not the only with these tendencies!)
3 Habits to Avoid as a Lady Boss
1. Overdoing for others so you are loveable.
Have you ever found yourself in the throws of giving, giving, giving, only in the end to feel a twinge of something ugly inside, maybe even resentment? Chances are, you may be operating from a shadow motivation to secure love. You know, the one that tells you, “If I give my all to others, I’ll finally be worthy to receive myself.” Ouch! Remember: we don’t earn our worth. It’s an inherent part of who we are.
2. Aligning with others to feel safe.
This is a real doozy that will for sure zap your voice of truth in a nano-second. You know how this goes: being agreeable to the point of dysfunction to stay loyal, friendly, keep up and belong. This behavior is the kryptonite of authenticity and bravery in interpersonal relationships. (Authenticity and bravery being key to intimacy and bonding—as well as leadership!)
3. Feeling the need to be liked.
This is systemic of the two behaviors I listed above and stems from sourcing our worth from external validation rather than internal sources. It simultaneously evolves from having a disdain for conflict.Usually when this one rears its ugly head, we have to ask ourselves where we are not being kind enough, loving enough, and sweet enough to ourselves to the extent we rely on others to do it for us. When we fully accept and love ourselves—completely—it’s easier not to care what others think
Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments. What is your biggest shadow tendency when it comes to leadership and staying authentic to you work? What steps can you take today to step out of this shadow?