In the old days of 1983, Macy’s had a female vice president. It was a tough cookie. She knew more information about her business than any other man on her level. She created a cult around her in the company and essentially kept her people close and in line. Not shocking, I wasn’t one of them. Politics has never been my thing. Even so, I was always impressed with her and wondered if she slept with numbers under her pillow.
There have been tons of female CEOs and founders who have been canceled. It is not easy to be a boss and a wife. Toxic work environments don’t work for anyone. Do people expect founders and CEOs to be kind, warm, and charming people? Certainly not if they are male, but possibly if they are female. Unconscious prejudices, stricter standards, and tougher judgment for women are absolutely in the workplace, which spills over into society.
It is difficult for women to feel brave and in control no matter how far they have come in their careers. It’s a patriarchal system. It is not easy to change that. Check out who took on most of the burden during the pandemic, women. They were the ones who withdrew from the workforce to take care of the children and the family.
Everyone has their own leadership style. Some are better than others. The pressure, the expectations, the ups and downs can be intense. I can’t help but ask what people expect from a CEO job. Are they aligned?
Before boards begin to cancel a leader, there should be a thorough investigation and no jerky response. The social media echo chamber can increase a person’s cancellation before someone has confirmed that the behavior was unacceptable or inappropriate.
I have a couple of friends who have been canceled. It was quick and ugly with no evidence of real investigation. Each generation has learned behavior from the years they grew up and went to work. I’m not saying that’s okay, but we have entered an “awakened” world that “annuls” people for behavior that was previously ignored or possibly accepted. I am all in favor of change and fully agree that “waking up” is a good thing for our country, but we should be careful who gets canceled when we don’t know all the facts.
And women should have the same expectations as their male counterparts, not an ounce more. We have to accept that we are all very different. That’s a bigger part of the change that has to come if we are ever really going to have a fairer workforce.