An all to common struggle amongst women professionally is finding a balance between being powerful and being likable. While men find security and ultimately likability in being powerful, women find that it is impossible to have both.
As young women, we are taught that we should be kind and nice. But being powerful is practically the exact opposite as we’ve been programmed to prioritize the feelings of others over our own. I want them to like me, therefore, I will not say how I truly feel. I don’t want to be considered pushy or too aggressive so I’ll play nice. But either way, nice or not, its lonely at the top.
And here’s why… When we play down our roles or our personality we never allow ourselves to be seen. Truth be told being seen (yes being vulnerable) is the only way to establish a true, authentic connection and without connections, we live our lives in isolation.
SO if you’re a woman and the boss, or CEO of your own company you may as well reside to the fact that it’s lonely at the top. Well, it doesn’t have to be. Here are some suggestions to maintain your position of power at work and develop authentic connections outside of work.
Don’t befriend your team
I know it’s so tempting as you see them every day. You have coffee with them in the morning so why not have a drink or two after work with them. Your team is not your friend, and your desire to be liked by them may ruin any leadership role that you have spent developing.
Do be their boss
Do your job as it is intended to be. Offer them advice, guidance, feedback and leadership. Provide them with much-needed tools so that one day they can become the go to a leader at your company. Take the pressure off of how you feel and remind yourself what happens if your feelings of insecurity get in the way…. Your employees or coworkers lose the opportunity to learn from you. And isn’t that what they need the most?
“Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back.” ~ Unknown
If you have found yourself at a stage in life where you have limited female friendships don’t be overwhelmed. All relationships evolve over time and some will not stand the test of time. Even more so in the lives of powerful women as they have to balance their life between work and home, feelings of worthiness, jealousy or resentment and their overall inability to relax while not at work. Women crave female connections as an outlet for all of the day-to-day stress.
So my suggestion is that you…
Step out of your Comfort Zone
Easier said than done right. You have very little time and are smart enough to invent every excuse in the book that will prevent you from seeking authentic, supportive female connection. However, with age and less time, women are less apt to step out of our comfort zones and let down their walls. But this is the time when they need them the most.
Seek Connections Elsewhere
You must make a sincere effort to meet other women outside of work. The best place for powerful women to find connections with other powerful women is through networking groups or after work events. But while these are great places they are not the only ones! Try putting down your smartphone and looking up around you. I’m sure that you pass a dozen women a day with whom you could quite possibly share a connection with. And if you think this is an odd request just remember you’re looking for quality and not quantity so realistically this could mean just one or two!
In the end the only way to combat loneliness lies within and our own self worth only determines it. If we love ourselves and take proper self care of our bodies and minds than we are less likely to feel lonely. You hold the power to how you feel. What will you choose?