Things have been tense in my workplace, so I strive to maintain a positive work environment through an excess of kindness. I try to keep the peace and not rock the boat, but lately it’s been impossible to speak up even when I feel I need to. I’m sure I’m not alone as an older woman in this situation. Do you have any advice for overcoming my apprehensiveness?
– Margaret P.
My core teachings are to trust yourself and trust in the truth. Excess listening is a good thing. Excess kindness, not necessarily so. Trying to keep the peace and not make waves is exactly what will devour and destroy a team or organization. If we can’t rock the boat, we can’t change, can’t evolve, can’t stay ahead of competition. Yet, women have been brought up to be quiet and not speak out. If they did it would be retaliated against or ridiculed. That is not so anymore. We have the prerogative to say, ‘This is toxic, I do not belong or deserve to be in a toxic environment.’ That is what a lot of the Great Resignation is rooted in, as we see it unfolding, because toxicity has never been something we went to work for. Now, all the -isms that have gotten in the way of succeeding: ageism, sexism, racism…all othering, the spotlight is on them, and we can’t hide from these anymore.
But the situation also requires those of us who want to make change happen to step up, speak up, and make waves. We need to learn to hear what’s in our hearts and minds and speak it. I would suspect that in these times, as leaders are navigating unknown waters, now is the time where your suggestions will be so much appreciated.
It’s not being risky to take these risks, and if your voice isn’t going to be heard, take your bat and ball and go to a new playing field. You have to be in a place that allows you to be fully who you are so you can enliven those who work with you to do the same and speak out. Women are doing so well in leading organizations, but we need to support each other or we can’t be innovative or make the changes we have to make at the eleventh hour – for humanity and the planet. We are the ones who need to be heard.