#leadershiptruth – Don’t ‘mom’ me.

Posted February 6, 2018 in Latest News & Insights

Years ago I read a research study that explored the behavioural differences between how men and women lead. A key point made was that women are often valued for behaviours that aren’t necessarily aligned to the stereotypical view of successful leadership. Women are seen as ‘communal’ (affectionate, helpful, friendly, interpersonally sensitive) while men seen as more agentic (aggressive, ambitious, dominant, self-confident). In a nutshell, women are seen as tending to focus on creating harmony while men focus on getting ahead. Now, there are definitely plenty of guys good at creating harmony and plenty of women who are ambitious and aggressive. That’s not the point. All strengths have their liabilities and it’s the overuse of this ‘communal’ strength that is generally attached to women. In my coaching practice I often see senior women (and sometimes men) step up to ‘take care’ of other people’s work responsibilities, feelings, or general bullsh*t screw-ups like an over-involved helicopter parent. I affectionately call this behaviour ‘Momming’ as in ‘you’re ‘momming’ me.’ Newsflash: you’re not their mom. You don’t need to make everything all better. If the ‘kids’ aren’t delivering, it’s not up to you fix it and save them from discomfort. Every good parent knows that they have to let their kids fall on their faces from time to time to learn how to walk on their own. Your employees, coworkers and boss need the same lessons.


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