Do you remember that line from the movie “A League of Their Own? That moment when Tom Hanks’s character made it very clear that the coach mistreats the female players, and instead of “taking it like a man” one of the players cries.
We’ve been fed that lie over and over in business. We have been shown that if a woman is to succeed in a “man’s world” such as business, she has to be as cold, and ruthless, and insensitive. Supposedly learning from the qualities that make men successful in the business world. Well I think it’s time to change that.
I’ve seen some of what women such as Sheryl Sandberg and Joanna Barsh have said. I agree, it’s hard, we need to keep fighting and change some of our mindset. We need to have men engage in family raising and more social engagements. And yes, we need to step up and admit we are awesome without having to ask for permission or forgiveness in the process. But… I’m done perpetuating the cycle. Particularly because it is a load of dirt piling under the rug of humanity and nurturing inhumanity.
We need more crying in business! We need more men and women who are affected by what goes wrong in the world.
We need people who are ashamed and overwhelmed by the evil that surrounds them; but not so much as to be paralizad by fear or crying in a corner. That is not what women do. That is what the male version of women’s role told us we are supposed to do. Yes, we break, and we cry; but we get up, and we do whatever is needed to fix what is broken. We have brought up generation after generation of children—many times neglected by men who decided they had to be all about business. Now we have new generations of men who refuse to buy that lie. We have men who want paternity leave and cherish holding their kids when they cry and won’t say “stop crying”, or “real men don’t cry.”
Now is the time for us to embrace the emotional side of business. To create associations of men and women who allow leaders to be vulnerable and lead by example showing that success comes from overcoming fear, and failure, and self-doubt, and attacks. Perhaps that’s why biographical series and movies have become so influential in our times. That is why reality television became so big. We were finally shown that behind closed doors and curtains, success is messy. We began to learn that success came with a cost.
However, the cost of success reduces thoroughly when more and more humane people take control. You won’t do “whatever it takes”, because it won’t be acceptable. You won’t step over other people, because they will call you out as you do it. You will make mistakes, and you will continue to go down wrong roads, because that is what builds experience and character. But there is enough you will learn on your own, there is no need for people around you to make it any worse. It is not fear of what others do that contains your deepest desires. It is fear of what you can or cannot do that really does if we are truly honest. That fear will prevail, and it will continue to build character even without a destructive competitive survival-of-the-fittest environment.
So you will cry, and after fighting and struggling you may get to the top. But only if you really took the time to understand what it was like to be down, and learn the lessons that you will need to share and profit from learning after all.
Please share this article with more people who understand or need the power of emotion in business.