A conservative’s view…
As the former First Lady Michelle Obama shared an intimate conversation with the members of Chief, her message of authenticity resonated with me – loudly. As a business owner in a male-populated industry, I was reminded of a time when women who wanted to achieve success in business were coached in the finer points of “being more like a man.” We had our solid-colored three piece suits hanging in the closet and we practiced speaking with our deeper, and supposedly more confident, voice. Ironically, we often chose not to use that voice thinking our ideas and thoughts wouldn’t be as credible as those of the men in the room.
But the premise of authenticity is a powerful one and women today are grasping the concept. Our authentic self is our whole self – lock, stock and barrel. Our ideas are valid, our words are meaningful no matter the pitch of our voice, and how we dress does not enhance or deter from our achievements. When we are comfortable with who we are, we can work to our highest capacity because our confidence is not being derailed worrying about who might be judging us.
Leadership comes in many forms and manifests in different ways. We develop our personal leadership style based on what is working and recognizing the positive impacts when they happen. We used to think we had to compete with men to climb the ladder. Now we know we can collaborate and share the ladder, or, if need be, bring our own ladder – and we can climb it in high heels if that’s what works for us.
As a conservative, I was surprised at how strongly I related to Michelle Obama’s sentiments. It demonstrated that we need to get past our political labels and listen to each other. We won’t agree on everything, but if we take the time to see and hear people as individuals with valuable experiences and perspectives, we can find common ground to make our communities, state, nation and world a better place.