Women, Spirit & Money: Making Me Crazy with Her Song - What Women Leaders Really Need to Do to Affect Change

—By Sherri L. McLendon—

If women want to lead, then it’s time to set the example – not create messes, excuses, or stressors.

Given opportunity, women make dynamic leaders. They’re change agents who can transform stale or untenable situations into something new and vital. That’s why, when I see women self-sabotaging in their business, or within the women’s movement, or in spiritual communities, it makes me crazy.

Sherri L. McLendon

Sherri L. McLendon

Absolutely crazy – and I ain’t singing to the choir, Patsy Cline. In the words of Roberta Flack, this nonsense is killing me softly – and it’s keeping the patriarchy firmly entrenched.

So I’m speaking it out loud and in public. Here’s what we women need to do in order to lead the change:

1. Show up for the work.

Everyone likes the feel good events and taking home the t-shirts and being able to say, “I was there when…” and claiming their place in the movement, whatever movement that is. When in reality, it’s the people who show up to do the work who actually lead. Unfortunately, good member based non-profit organizations can’t get many people to show up these days. If it’s not on Facebook, it often doesn’t get done. Yet pressing a ‘like’ button or commenting on a post doesn’t mean one is active in a community. It means you’re a clicktivist, not an activist.

2. Leave the drama at the door.

Creating drama where there is none is the surefire fastest way to damage relationships with others for the future. Drama creates reactivity, misunderstandings, and disaster in interpersonal dynamics. If you’re a fan of drama, feel free to place that attention on creating direct actions, a type of dramatic pseudo-event, which garners press attention. At least something positive will come of it.

3. Clean up your act.

Grandmama used to say we needed to clean up around our own back doors before we go sweeping around others’. So when I find myself feeling overwhelmed by disorganization or incoherence among women when working together, I usually take it as a sign that I am in the wrong place with the wrong people. It’s one thing to be co-creative and consensus driven. It’s altogether another to be out of alignment with your own group’s objectives and lost in a sea of trivialities. Clean up or move on.

4. Learn to use the tools of the trade.

Why do women who say they’re ready to step up then waffle about gaining skills or education, or garnering the support needed to move forward? YouTube has a video for most basic, online tools in common usage by moderately media-literate persons, and the Internet is covered up in marketing coaches who’ll teach tactics all day long. Women at all ages and levels of experience or education must take responsibility for learning whatever it is they need to know to forward their passion and their work.

5. Don’t ask others to do your work for you.

Delegation is one thing; making busy work to create a dependent system is something else again. I take a hard look at everything to see if it’s mine to do. If it’s not, I say no. Firmly.

6. Be direct and aligned in word and action.

Women have long been taught that directness is unladylike. Yet taking too long to make a request or hone in on a point can cost you another’s attention and respect. Plus, if we have something to say that feels highly charged, it’s best to just stick to the facts or criteria, and keep emotions out of it. Don’t send messages with cloaked intentions. If what you say and what you do are out of alignment, it shows. And it attracts like behavior from others.

7. Do what you say you will do.

Nothing more, nothing less: take responsibility and follow through; be accountable to yourself as well as others. By the way, if you say you’re a leader, this also minimally includes voting intelligently in upcoming elections with an eye to issues of importance to women. Make decisions about candidates that you think will keep women empowered and at choice, in their lives and in the workplace. If someone else is making the decision for a woman on the basis of her gender, or their own morality, it is by definition, disempowering.

8. If you make a mistake, own it.

Take responsibility for mistakes. Don’t assign blame to someone else. The buck stops here. That’s how leaders step up. Then they work out what happened and take preventative measures behind the scenes. Women leaders also clean up their own energetic messes in relationships, even if it’s unpleasant. They don’t use denial as a management policy.

9. Ignore what doesn’t work, no matter how long it’s been done that way.

Especially for women who seek gender equality, this one’s for you. Honoring the women and work that have gone before is a good thing. Doing the same thing for years and expecting something different to result is not. If you want to see the change, be the change. Part of what that means is doing things differently to affect desired outcomes in specific ways, which includes being relevant to the multi-generational, cross-cultural 21st century WNC women nurturing change. Remember, when it comes to socio-economic or political movements, nostalgia is a dangerous thing, because it maintains the status quo.

10. Cultivate self-care.

The greatest thing we can do for ourselves daily, for our fellow woman, women’s community, and gender equality collectively, is to create networks of support which enable women to both connect with others and enjoy a little alone time. If we do not refill our inner wells, we fail ourselves and cannot model sustainable empowered womanhood or dynamic leadership for other women. A woman’s strength does not lie in self-sacrifice. It lies in a sacred relationship with the inner self through nature and nurture, ceremony and ritual, community and service, and unfolds in much that order.

I ask you to decide today to create and restore those missing pieces, whole unto yourself, or to reach out to mentor or share with another woman in need of tending. Together, acting from a place of feminine leadership and personal sovereignty, we can create a world in which women are not a commodity to be pillaged like natural resources under the dominion of men.

Sherri L. McLendon, M.A., is a recognized Asheville area feminine leader, marketing public relations consultant and content strategist with www.professionalmoneta.com.

This entry was posted in November 2014 and tagged finance, finances, women spirit and money. Bookmark the permalink.

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