Shout out to all my business-owning clients and colleagues, but especially those who've ever been called "difficult", "bossy", "intimidating", "opinionated", "ambitious", or had other leadership qualities weaponised against them. I hear ya!
We spend too much of our energy trying not to offend others, trying to keep everyone happy, and still somehow making all of the difficult decisions our businesses demand of us.
I've embraced my inner "difficult woman" over the years, firstly as a young woman inspired by my fabulously "difficult" mother-in-law, but more recently as a boss who has had to make the tough calls sometimes.
I've learned that my team functions better when I'm clear and decisive, even if they don't always like what I'm being clear and decisive about. Equally, I love them for feeling safe to disagree with me. Mutual trust and respect is what matters.
I've stopped worrying about being liked, and focus more on being respectful, inspiring, and providing strong leadership. And no, I don't need to be an arsehole to be a decisive leader.
Sure I can be difficult. Because I might disagree with you. Or I might have an idea that challenges YOUR comfort zone. Or because I don't tolerate non-constructive criticism, abuse, or judgement from those whose opinions don't matter.
I've found solidarity in working with other "difficult" leaders making the tough calls while also caring deeply for their staff, their clients, their families.
I've found unity in standing tall with others who won't let fear of judgement and criticism hold them back.
Because leadership is disruptive.
Inspiration is loud.
Change is often unpopular.
And these things make others feel uncomfortable.
And that's okay.
*Mug from QVWC