Women and Leadership: What is Holding You Back from Completely Leading Yourself?
Written by Tammy Ketura on February 21st, 2019
So much of leadership is about culture. Culture is about the norms of interaction. Norms refer to what is allowed and what is considered unacceptable. Interaction is made possible through verbal, non-verbal, and visual communication. Through communication, ideas, thoughts, and feelings are expressed and shared. Communication is limited by shame, or not breaking the norms. The feeling of shame, makes us feel small. The effects of feeling shame, seals our mouth shut, our voice becomes inaccessible, and gives us the feeling that we would rather disappear. The actions that follow are, trying to hide and go unseen. The unintentional effects are: numbing, choosing a distraction, leaving or changing the topic. Either way, ignoring what is there, and being dishonest towards ourselves. 

When desiring to create a culture of vulnerability, openness, trust, friendship, and support, shame is like oil on water. When I want to lean in (Sheryl Sandberg) and when I dare to lead (Brené Brown) I appreciate taking shame by the hand and noticing what images are making it feel so small and gently shine the light on shame, inviting shame into the room, and give it space to be heard, honoured, and recognised for what it is telling me. In short, treating shame with its antidote: gentile loving attention. 

I recently put this into action again, and relished its effects. 

Lately, I have been desiring to meet people and welcome male friendships into my life. There was a man I had seen at the gym. His character perked my interest, so I reached out to him and we met. 

In anticipation and preparation for our first meeting, I noticed the potential conflict of expectations, intentions, dreams, wishes, and desires and the brutality of falling in love and the heart break that can follow. Since none of these were what I wanted, I noticed the shame I was feeling was preventing me from asking for what I really wanted: not a life partner, nor someone to rescue me, nor someone to help me, nor someone to tell me what to do (or how to do it). What I really wanted was friendship. Simply friendship: equal friendship between genders. No weird gender power dynamics. No squishing myself into pre-formed gender rolls, no gender humiliation, and no superficial elevation of the other, or superficial devalue of self. I desired simply honest communication from my heart to another humans heart. Friendship. 

The culture of questions online dating portals ask, flashed through my mind. So, I thought "maybe, this is an opportunity to create an alternative to the superficial gendered interaction that fertilises our gender based stereotypes". And I leaned into the inspiration. 

To bring these unspoken (and possibly conflicting) interests to the table and to draw back the curtain on our (non)gendered-friendship capacities, I drafted a preliminary agenda and sent it to him in advance, asking for his additions, changes, and also whether he would be open work through the agenda with me. His answer was yes. I took his answer and my intention seriously. 

The Agenda: 
each person shares a joke.
each person shares one thing the other “must” know about them.
each person shares one wish for the potential friendship.
each person asks the other one question.
each person shares one observation about the other.  
each person considers and shares their interest in another meeting. 

It went really well. Our first meeting lasted a lovely lively 2.5 hours. We worked thought and completed the agenda and talked all around the topics. We discussed jealousy, co-ed friendships, and how falling in love falls out of love and into possession. We discussed hard topics that opened up honest listening. It made room for a culture of vulnerability. And it opened up space for friendship to develop on a foundation other than our bodies, power, sex, need, and sexuality, and rather, based on our common humanity and our human hearts. 

The following week, our time together kept re-playing in my mind, and a few gongs resonated in me. Namely, how pertinent the following gendered beliefst in our society are: 
- Maintaining friendships with the opposite gender after marriage is a threat to the marriage and is equalled to disloyalty towards the marriage. 
- A physical attraction needs to be physically satisfied.
- When I love you, I need more of you. 
- You can only love one person at a time. 
- When you love a person, you have sex with them. 

Then I noticed how these thoughts keep women and men separate and largely isolated from each other, feed distance between interactions (even intimate ones), and prevent us from appreciating, respecting, and interacting with the other gender as a fellow and equal human being. This trend starts in the home and ends up in the national statistics of female - male unemployment, re-employment, roll distribution, glass doors, glass ceilings, and dagnabit persistent salary inequality. Which then has an influence on life post-marriage, etc. And the cycle persists in the next generation. 

What incredible aspirations and inspirations do you have, that you are reluctant to follow? Where are you preventing yourself from Leaning in, following your instructions, and daring to lead? 


Join me Saturday June 1st, and Sunday, June 2nd, 2019 for a two day intensive seminar on Women and Leadership where we dive into the stressful thoughts and situations that keep us acting the way we do and stuck reliving and recreating the situations that we have. We will consider Leadership inside the home and within the workplace and living turn arounds. Participants receive 12 credits from The Institute for The Work and the 2 days are recognise by The Verband for The Work for credit. I look forward to hosting you and getting intimate on this topic. 

Tammy Ketura

Tammy is a peace expert. She helps Moms and Women wo have been in bed with a person demonstrating narcissistic personality disorder, transform their fate. She makes things super simple to understand. What used to cause tremendous suffering can begin to open up to peace, freedom, and resourcefullness -- Now!

If you, or your company, are interested in inviting your stress' and blockages' to serve you and start transforming your fate, then definitely reach out and request a free strategy session today.
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