I am… direct and passionate

I’m home from a week long trip to the mother ship in Seattle, still feeling hung over from all the words that came out of my mouth (not to mention my first night of real drunkenness in a really long time). My liver has recovered but my <pride, embarrassment, sense of regret?> has not. Despite many (many, many) hours of Monday morning quarterbacking my more memorable declarations and fights picked, I think I did the right things…

… and yet.

Years spent trying to be nicer, subtler, sweeter or a little less sharp have worn this pattern into my brain. First, listen. Then, try not to speak. Then, try really hard not to speak. Then, lose patience and say the thing, sometimes but not always with some semblance of tact. Finally, feel terrible for a week despite reminding myself that this is my job.

It is my job to say the things nobody else will say out loud. Once they’re said, we can deal with them. Unsaid, nada.

I will spend this week reminding myself I’ve made a career out of being direct and passionate and willing to start a fight. I will spend a few weeks writing posts for this series, trying (and maybe succeeding?) to be at peace.

Is this a woman thing? Do male executives feel bad about being direct and forcing disagreements to happen? Ours are very nice. My company is full of very nice men who run things and a few fiery women who run things too, sometimes, but a lot more fiery women who never will.

Be prepared – more “I am…” posts will be up in the next few days or weeks.

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4 thoughts on “I am… direct and passionate

  1. I don’t believe I am qualified to give you advice, but your posts make me think of a saying I’ve come across. I’m sure it is a quote by someone, but all I can remember is the gist: wanting to talk is not listening. My company has spent the last 4 years trying to get all employees through a a leadership course known as Leader Effectiveness Training (LET) and I think you could find some answers there.

    • It’s interesting that your takeaway from my post was related to listening. I’ll have to think more about why that seems odd to me and whether it bothers me.

  2. I recently got into trouble at work for being too direct (too negative/too strident was the criticsm) during an open forum on employee feelings. It really upset me, as it resonated with other criticsms I’ve received, and then it made me wonder if a male executive would be subject to the same degree of discipline for being direct.

    I am a long time lurker but I’ve loved your posts since the ‘bee days. Pregnant with my first child now, I am so grateful to you as a thoughtful resource.

    Blessings!

    • What I’ve found is that there is a political aspect that must be respected, especially in open forums. It’s a tough line to walk, for men or women, but harder for women, I think.

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