Imagine a university lecture theater. Tiered seats in a semi-circle, and in those seats, powerful women. Women leaders from international governments; Singapore, South Africa, India, to name a few. Senior female leaders from multi-national organizations. All of these women looking towards a central focal point. I step into that focal point and endure their gaze. I ask this question, “What words is your mind giving you to describe me?”
We all judge, we cannot judge, and my intent in asking that question on the third day of a Women in Leadership program was to bring to awareness that gender bias goes both ways.
“Assertive, Arrogant and Aggressive” – were how some of these women perceived me, and that was before I have even started my lecture (It’s not my fault I look like a night-club bouncer!).
“Confident, Professional and a Leader” were the kinder descriptions. But the point had been made. We all judge, but worse than judging others is how we judge ourselves. This was the theme of my after-dinner speech for International Women’s Day this year, in front of Singapore’s President, Madam Halimah Yacob.
Self-leadership author & Coach gives an inspiring after-dinner speech for International Women’s Day 2019 in the presence of Singapore’s President, Mdm Halimah Yacob.
As an author, speaker and coach on the topic of Self-leadership, I have the privilege to work with C-level leaders, and Senior Leadership Teams from Multi-National Companies. And, I have the opportunity to develop more Women Leaders with Executive Presence, as well as positively impact teenagers through CSR work with UBS Bank and CampVision.
“With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility” – Uncle Ben to Peter Parker (Spider Man)
But with great responsibility comes great power! And, at the heart of Self-leadership is the responsibility for our thoughts, feelings, and actions (Bryant & Kazan 2012). When we take ownership (responsibility) for our thinking, feelings, and actions, we have the power to change ourselves, and by changing ourselves we influence the world around us.
Unconscious bias is hard to overcome because it’s unconscious! But awareness that we are judging and judging unfairly is the first stage in transformation. I posted a case study of one such extraordinary women whom I coached through this transformation, you can read it by clicking here.
I am a son to a mother, a brother to two sisters, a husband to one wife and a father to two daughters. I am surrounded by smart, intelligent women who deserve to live in a world where it is recognized that all genders, whilst different, have an equal role to play.
Women, it’s time to stop judging yourselves and men it’s time to step back from your bias and let go the fear that a woman might take your job – instead focus on being the best version of you, then there will be nothing to fear – but fear itself!
Receiving recognition from Singapore’s President, Mdm Halimah Yacob for coaching teenagers with Self-leadership with CampVision.
15 Minute Masterclass for Senior Executives & Managers
Presenter: Andrew Bryant, Global Authority on Self-Leadership & Executive Presence.