Ice Queen Syndrome – How Faux Confidence Can Hurt Women in Leadership

Queen Bee, the Ice Queen. We’ve all met one or worse yet, worked for one. I recently came across a slew of articles analyzing the role of the these characteristics in the office ecosystem. It’s a topic I’ve discussed at great length both in my book, Leading Gracefully and at speaking engagements across the US and abroad. So, why did these articles in particular catch my eye? They weren’t about the problems associated with being pegged as the Ice Queen, they were about embracing her!

Needless to say, I was shocked. Women have been forced into these stereotypes for decades because of discriminatory work environments, and that’s not a tradition I think we should embrace. As I began reading the arguments posed by pro-Ice Queen authors, I realized that the core of the argument in favor of being the most unapproachable person in the office was about exuding confidence.

Let’s get one thing straight: Women should not have to trade likeability for confidence.

I developed the Feminine Leadership Model based on leading with the ideal balance of our masculine and feminine traits, but confidence is neither. Women can embrace feminine qualities that make them kinder, more caring, and more empathetic – all the while carrying themselves with the kind of confidence that will get them the respect they deserve. And let’s be real, being icy and bitter only exudes faux confidence, at best. I teach my female clients that showing empathy, leveraging your vulnerability, and letting your colleagues know you care are all real ways to become a more effective leader. These methods are all antithetical to being the office Ice Queen, and lead to a healthier and more successful team dynamic.

Discriminatory and male-dominated work environments may be to blame for the existence of the Ice Queen stereotype but, by and large, the victims of the aggressive and bossy female leader are other women. And in fact, one of the top complaints I hear from my clients are stories of how their female bosses actively working to sabotage their career. Typically these are stories of female bosses who micro-manage which makes it difficult to gain the skills necessary to advance or don’t advocate on their behalf, limiting their visibility which hurts their chances for promotions. This practice hurts the overall cause for those of us who are interested in closing the gender leadership gap.

I believe it is vital for women to strengthen their professional relationships with each other in order to close this gender gap. Here’s a passage I include in Leading Gracefully: “When we become less judgemental, and more forgiving of women who may be slightly different than us, it can lead us to work better together – and give women the boost that they need to face the myriad other challenges they have to face in the workplace.”

Leaning into Our Dormant Power through Feminine Leadership

It’s great when I hear from women in the business/entrepreneurial world that resonate with my message. Learn Savvy’s Jen Aubert was one of those women who “get it” and I was thrilled when she invited me as guest on the new Learn Savvy podcast, where we spoke about the dormant power that lies in every woman, which I speak about in my book, Leading Gracefully. Having accessed my own “dormant power” many years ago while climbing a 40 foot tree and subsequently jumping out of said tree (while harnessed, of course!), I realized that this is a unique gift that women possess, yet many are either unaware of it or don’t tap into it as much as they could be.

This power lies in our second chakra, and is where our creativity and sexuality resides. It’s where life is created, but it’s also an immense source of power for women. But because of all the body shaming, objectification, and pressure to conform, our relationship with this part of our bodies is usually one that brings up a lot of shame, pain or even embarrassment. Rarely do we view it as a source of great creativity or power that we can utilize to our advantage. And yet tapping into it myself, I realized that when we do, we are much more tuned into the bigger picture, and we’re able to be strong, confident, and creative as a result.

So that’s the topic du jour in my lively conversation with the lovely fierce and feminine Jen Aubert as we explored what it means to be a feminine leader in today’s world.

Check out the full conversation on Learn Savvy’s podcast here: http://www.learnsavvy.co/dormant-power-feminine-leadership-interview-monique-tallon-fstu005/

How to Set Your Business and Life Up for Success

Running a business is an exciting adventure. There is something powerful, yet humbling about creating a product or service that helps change lives. It truly makes you feel as if you are living in your purpose. Yet, how do you bask in this amazing feeling while managing the other responsibilities and personal goals in your life? More specifically, how can a woman successfully manage her business while being present for her family, taking care of her body, and completing the endless to do list?

Have a vision.

It is quite difficult to achieve anything in life if you do not know what you want. This is especially true when it comes to balancing your family, your business, and anything else that is important to you. What kind of life do you envision for yourself?

If this question overwhelms you, you can begin by simply writing down a list of things that are important to you. Write down how you want to feel everyday, as well as the people you want to have in your life. Really dig deep and be as honest as possible. If you are more of a kinesthetic learner, you can create a vision board to display the kind of lifestyle you would like to have. Images are very powerful and can help you visualize the life you want.

Create a realistic plan.

Once you know the kind of life you envision for yourself, create a plan to achieve it. Just make sure your plan is realistic. It is perfectly okay to want to run your business, take your children to soccer practices, go on date nights with your spouse, exercise three times per week, travel internationally, write your next book, and more. Yet, if you overplan your days, you may feel defeated when you’re not able to keep up. Find balance by only planning things you can accomplish. Don’t feel the need to do it all. Instead, delegate responsibilities that can alleviate stress and free up more of your time. This may mean asking your family to contribute more or hiring someone to clean your home, do laundry, or cook.

Set boundaries.

It can be difficult to leave life at the office some days, but it is necessary. Although there will be times when work and home life overlap, you must be cognizant of your boundaries. Know when to switch on the “off” button. While it certainly is not easy to successfully achieve balance between your business and other responsibilities, it is doable.

The Male Perspective on Women’s Leadership

I recently had the pleasure of being featured on the Dose of Leadership podcast with Richard Reirson, who I can only describe as one of the men who “gets it.” He understands the need for more women in leadership because of the unique perspective they bring to the table, along with the great range of leadership skills that he thinks is much needed in the corporate world. I must admit it was refreshing to speak to someone who supports not only having more women at the top but an attitude that men can also learn a lot from women, especially about how to bring more heart into business.

Listen to our full interview here: http://www.doseofleadership.com/monique-tallon/