Marissa Mayer, newly appointed CEO of Yahoo, announced she was pregnant just after her appointment. Could she take on the turnaround of Yahoo and be a “good mom?” Would one or both suffer? Would she really want to return to work just after the birth? And on … Endless speculation by the media.
These questions were widely discussed and debated in the social media as well, via blogs, Twitter, Linkedin discussions, Facebook, etc. Marissa was just listed in Forbes Magazine as among “The Most Fascinating Women of 2012.”
The announcement about her pregnancy stirred up sentiments about the implications for her ability to right the Yahoo ship and be a first-time mom, all at the same time. Women weighed in heavily.
Last week, I watched CNN International broadcast an interview with Marissa, and she impressed me. The CNN international newscasters had some repartee after airing the interview. The female newscaster’s comment was something to the effect of, “You could tell her analogy to Vince Lombardi was rehearsed.”
Is that all she could say about this young woman who has taken on a huge turnaround responsibility, is under the glare of the spot light and tremendous pressure while bringing a new child into the world? It was petty.
These are subtle/not so subtle ways that women undermine each other. Would she have made the same comment about a man? Where was the awe? This young woman has demonstrated tremendous courage by taking on such a huge responsibility and challenge, while knowing she would be under the microscope and have to endure endless criticism, second-guessing, critique and commentary about her every move.
Interestingly, the male newscaster who reported the story came to Melissa’s defense and said something like, “Of course, at her level she will have had these lines rehearsed.” And he was right.
I am all for critiquing, but just to find something to pick at and criticize smacks of undermining. Until this point, I had enjoyed this particular newscaster. In her defense, some of this stuff is so insidious, we don’t realize we are doing it. But we are.
Women’s leadership means giving a hand up, mentoring, supporting, building up … not tearing down. How are we going to make it, break the glass ceiling and help bring our world back into balance without caring about and for one another?
There are a ton of women’s organizations, Linkedin groups, radio shows, TV shows, etc., who purport to all about women, yet I see some of the same undermining going on in many of these groups as well.
Perhaps first, we have to accept that this is our human condition. Maybe it’s some kind of human survival urge. We need to be aware of our tendency to compete in some subtle and not so subtle ways. Then, we must commit to transcend it. Our survival, in fact is going to count on all of us pulling together, not tearing each other down. With awareness, we have the possibility to alter the way we act and interact … to gently lean into our very human tendencies rather then play them out. And evolve.
I offer this as a possibility for hope:
The next time you see one of your friends or colleagues doing well, succeeding against the odds, just sprouting new courage–find ways to support them. Tell them how amazed you are by their strength and courage. Tell them how you see them, in the best possible light. It will put fuel in their tank to carry on … and you know what? It will make you feel really good too.
Last night I went to a dinner party and a friend commented, “you look 10 years younger!” Gee, why did I wait so long to take a vacation. Frankly, it was a bit disturbing to think about what I must have looked like before I left!
For those of you who read my last post about the importance of unplugging to recharge, you’ll be happy to know that I unplugged. Mostly. As a business owner, the prospect of doing this was daunting. But I did. Here’s what happened and here’s what I learned. Take note, for those of you haven’t yet risked it.
We prepared. My social media team was in place and ready to post and promote my pre-written blogs, to send out my pre-written newsletter and to continue to send out my pre-written tweets. We changed my Facebook page photo to show that I was unplugged. Clients and colleagues were notified, and I initiated a gone fishin’ email notification auto-responder for folks that sent me emails. I was ready!
How did it go?
- WiFi access was often non-existent and spotty at best, so that really helped
- With each passing day, the pull of the internet slowly subsided from a continual drum beat to a soft murmur vying for my attention
- I did use my iPhone to check emails for anything urgent and only sent out one email response for something that was time sensitive
- My traveling companion, one of the least plugged-in people I know, requested at the last minute that I bring my computer along. She was in charge of booking our lodging and wanted to book the B&B’s while en route. Ugh, another temptation.
- My traveling companion wanted to get access to email frequently throughout our trip and look for internet hotspots. It took extra discipline not to succumb.
- I found myself concerned about how my Twitter connections would respond to my lack of interaction.
- I loved being unplugged and wish I could have, with confidence, let the email go too.
What were the results?
- My Twitter followers were still there and still retweeting and sending me direct messages, despite my absence and lack of response
- I was able to be fully present in my experience and delight in my travels
- I had much needed time for reflection and was able to make space for inner focus
- I really did return recharged
- I have still not caught up with all of my email and work that piled up while I was gone, but am chipping away daily.
With time to reflect on and integrate all that had transpired over the last several months–I walked away with some pearls — areas for my growth and development as a leader and that are good reminders for all of us.
My seven leadership pearls of wisdom
- Find that still point inside even though there are waves crashing around you
- Maintain your own rhythm when others travel to the beat of a different drum
- Remember that everything and everyone is a mirror to reflect aspects of yourself to you
- Prepare, then trust your team and let go
- Make sure to take your time off–and enough time to renew and replenish!
- Be present to your experiences and the world around you
- Let joy be your wellspring of energy and connection
My self-work continues … practice:
Maintain contact with that still point inside no matter what is happening around me
Keep playing my own rhythm while others play theirs’
When people describe or think of Enneagram Type 2 The People Pleaser, you often hear about a selfless person, Mother Teresa, self-sacrifice for the benefit of others … The moon to the sun … Someone who may not take care of his or her appearance while preoccupied with taking care of and pleasing others … Someone who is worn down and worn out … A doormat.
The stereotype: The nurse, the social work, the volunteer at the homeless shelter, the doctor, the nurturer …
Let’s bust this myth. Type 2s can be hedonistic–pleasure seekers–something oft attributed to Type 7 The Enthusiast or Type 8 The Boss.
For Type 2, physical attractiveness is important. Type 2s are the great seducers of the Enneagram and appearance is an important part of that. Type 2s are Image Types (along with Types 3 The Achiever and 4 The Individualist).
This means they are attentive to the image they project to others by what they say, how they look and what they do. They care about what others think often more than the other Types, and are more likely to take things personally.
Type 2s and Type 3s: Type 2s can be well groomed, well coiffed and dressed to suit the situation. Type 3s are often described as the chameleons of the Enneagram, however Type 2s can share this same ability by becoming what others need them to be. They tend to be quite empathic and are able shapeshift to endear themselves to important others. Type 3s are also considered “sparkly” yet many Type 2s also fit that description. Like Type 3s, they can be social climbers–they just go about it differently and for different reasons.
Type 2s are not always behind the scenes–the power behind the throne or the moon to the sun. While this can be true, what is also true is that many Type 2s are ambitious.
Type 2s I know lead organizations, start their own for-profit and non-profit organizations, are VPs of Human Resources, sales directors, run customer service departments, manage medical staff, own and operate social media organizations and yoga studios … they perform, sing, act, paint.
Type 2s are happy to go after their dreams and make them a reality.
Type 7 The Enthusiast and Type 3 The Achiever are often described as charming and to some extent, so is Type 8 The Boss. However, Type 2s are also known to be quite charming in order to achieve their ends. They can be competitive, organized, and perfectionistic.
They take strong stands, are willful, make demands and fully assert themselves.
In other words, people don’t just walk all over them. They are not doormats. But they can be.
At this point, you may be wondering, “What’s the difference then, between Type 2 and Type 3 or some of the other Types if they share common behaviors?”
IMPORTANT: What distinguishes one Type from another is not so much the behaviors we see, but why the different Types do what they do. In other words, what are their underlying motivations–what needs are they trying to get met and what are they trying to avoid?
Type 2s’ strategy is to please others in order to garner appreciation and make themselves indispensable. Much of their self-worth is based upon feeling valued, needed, and appreciated by others. On a deeper level, Type 2s’ self-perception is that they are unloveable. When they feel appreciated, desired, indispensable and valued, they temporarily feel lovable.
None of the Enneagram Type strategies work over time, but they give us the sense that our needs are being met, much like eating provides a temporary sensation that we are full and satisfied.
For this reason, Type 2 wants to avoid loss of connection–loss of love and their source of appreciation–and will go to great lengths to maintain those connections, often at risk of harm to themselves, and to others. This is when some of the more stereotypical behavior can show up.
Another reason Type 2 can share common behaviors with Type 3 The Achiever and Type 1 The Perfectionist is that these Types are the Wings of Type 2. The theory I find most useful and the one that maps to my observations, is that Type is a blend of the two Wings. From my book, InsideOut Enneagram: The Game-Changing Guide for Leaders:
Wings: The points on both sides of your Type are called your Wings, and they influence the ways you express the characteristics of your Type. Some people relate more to one Wing than another. Others feel that they share qualities with both Wings. You’ll hear people say, “I’m a 2 with a 3 wing.” In other words, Type 2 blends Type 1 and Type 3, and displays characteristics of all three Types. When we don’t relate to one of our Wings, it is probably because it lives outside of our conscious awareness.
Points of connection: Look at the Enneagram symbol and you’ll see that Type 2 is connected to Types 8 and 4. Under certain circumstances, Type 2 has access to many of the characteristic behaviors of these two Types.
At their best, Type 2s are warm, reliable, able to receive help graciously … They give without expectation, build powerful and durable alliances, are brilliant at making connections and building relationships and know who they are, what they stand for and that they are lovable for who they are and not what they do.
I hope this post offers a more well-rounded picture of Type 2 than the one you may have had. Remember, there is a Type 2 People Pleaser in all of us!
Please comment and let us know your own experience with Type 2s or from the perspective of Type 2. We would all benefit from your stories.
Postscript: A couple of years ago, in a conversation with Bea Chestnut, PhD Psychologist, Coach, Enneagram teacher and Type 2 … she noted that most people don’t get the hedonistic side of Type 2. I thought, “she’s right!” We over-focus on other aspects. It is in the spirit of illustrating a much broader picture of Type 2, that I wrote this blog. Thank you, Bea!
Check out these links for more information:
- Q & A About the Enneagram
- The Three Instincts
- It’s The Journey, Not the Destination
- Misunderstood: Type 4 The Individualist
- A Story of Team Dynamics
- Case Study: Type 8 & 9 (Boss and direct report)
- Use of Typing Cards for Your Relationship
- Coaching Type 2 The People Pleaser
- Enneagram Typing Using a Narrative Approach
Alex was a successful executive at an international bank in San Francisco, when disaster struck. In a singular and unpredictable moment, his life changed forever. A massive fire tore through his hillside community near San Francisco and engulfed and destroyed a multitude of homes. Alex’s was one of them.
At that time I was working in San Francisco’s financial district. On the day of the fire I bumped into Alex who happened to be my client at the time.
We were in the elevator in his office building and he was heading up to his office. I knew he lived in the area of the fire and so I asked whether his home was one of those affected. He looked at me with calm and nodded in the affirmative. “My home was completely destroyed. There’s nothing left.” I imagined how he must have been feeling and wondered what I would do if my feet were in his shoes.
Tight in the chest with worry, I looked him in the eyes asked “what are you going to do now?” Without missing a beat he replied, “I’m going to buy a toothbrush.”
That wasn’t the answer I expected.
Then I thought to myself, “I guess so.” What would I do?
Back to the necessities, back to the basics.
What would you do if you lost all of your worldly possessions and your home?
Alex and I reconnected not long after and as it turned out he used this fire as an alchemical fire for his life. It burned away everything, including his sense of self-identity.
He took this as an opportunity to reconsider how he wanted to live his life moving forward. Rather than immediately rebuild and reconstruct in order to keep going “as is,” Alex stopped in his tracks. He took time to reflect and reconsider.
This “disaster” gave him a chance to start anew. Scary, yes, but he saw opportunity in the disaster. Like the Phoenix, he rose from the ashes.
At a much later time in my life, I found myself in a similar position under very different circumstances. How Alex handled his tragedy informed and inspired my approach and resolve to move forward.
Within short order, Alex left his executive position at the bank and started his own business venture renovating homes. No small change. He had a new lease on life and was elated about his new career. This was an idea Alex toyed with over the years, but didn’t have the will, the faith or the courage to make this change earlier.
In Section V of Little Gidding from the Four Quartets, TS Eliot offers:
What we call the beginning is often the end.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.
Life is filled with continual endings and beginnings. Everything is impermanent. Circumstances can change in a blink and suddenly the life we thought we had is no more. When we hold on with a tight grip to what has been, we are doomed to suffer.
How gracefully can we let go of our attachments; to the way things are, to our things and to our self-identity? With each letting go there is an opening for something new to come in.
If you accept that change is inevitable, wouldn’t you rather seek out those changes and create your life rather than waiting for the unexpected to force a change?
Be intentional and deliberate about what you want to do, how you want to be, what you want to create. Reflect on what gives juice and meaning to your work and life.
Where will you focus your time and energy?
This is your one precious life …
Just ask yourself, “what would Alex do?”
One of the reasons I love working with the Enneagram is that it helps us see the role and identity we’ve trapped ourselves inside of … and we have the opportunity to create ourselves anew.
Whether you are in a position of leadership or lead from your position, being the bamboo is critical to your ability to influence and effectively lead your team, your organization and your life.
Why? Here is what we know about bamboo and what that has to do with leadership:
Bamboo is fast growing. Are you? Are you growing your self-understanding and understanding of others and the world around you or are you convinced of your rightness and that you have nothing new to learn?
Bamboo is versatile. It can be used to make clothing, flooring, scaffolding, as food, and it has medicinal purposes. How versatile are you? Do you pop into different situations and deploy your skills and abilities equally well? Do you speak to different audiences (staff, peers, superiors) and craft your message for their frame of reference–what matters to them?
Bamboo is hollow inside. Are you open to new information? Are you open to new points of view? Or are you so filled with your own thoughts and ideas that you have no room for others?
Are you open-hearted? The center of the bamboo is considered its heart.
Bamboo is firmly rooted, yet flexible and yields to the wind. How flexible are you? Do you shift your response with agility to differing circumstances to get the best result? OR do you react habitually rather than respond to the context?
Are you able weather the storm? OR are you rigid and unyielding? Do you break easily?
Are you firmly rooted? Are you able to stay grounded, solid and directed? Or do you get excited by the new and blown off course like a tumbleweed?
Do you continually change course and direction? Are you scattered and unfocused? Do you get excited by beginnings and lack follow-through?
Bamboo is used to create boundaries. How in tact are your own boundaries? Do people walk all over you? Do you invite people in when you know they’ll do harm? Do you invite feedback or accept feedback when you know that it comes from someone who has a specific agenda with you? Do you say “yes” and “no” and mean both? Do you over extend to the point of exhaustion? Do you feel used?
Or are you boundaries so rigid that you are unwilling to let people into your life and you don’t let others get to know you?
Bamboo is resilient. It is resistant to most bacteria. It’s a real survivor. How resilient are you? When you fail at something or something doesn’t go your way, do you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move forward? Do you learn from past failures and disappointments?
Bamboo replicates quickly. Do you share your wisdom, knowledge, experience and information so that others can grow and benefit? Or do you guard what you know out of fear that others will leapfrog you, use the information and become more successful than you? Or do you guard what you know out of fear that … ?
A Vietnamese proverb says: “When the bamboo is old, the bamboo sprouts appear” Wikipedia
Do you plan for your succession and build a strong team even if those team members may outshine you? How quickly do you replicate your own brilliance so that others may shine?
How can you be a Bamboo Leader? Here is just one important example:
Seek to understand before being understood
Listen to someone who appears to have a differing viewpoint, really listen. Sit on your verbal hands. Become curious about how this person sees the world and how s/he has arrived at her/his point of view.
Listen in at the same time you are listening out.
Notice when you find yourself disagreeing, when you want to interrupt to make a counter point, when you are saying to yourself, “What an idiot, that’s ridiculous …” Gently let those voices go. Return to the part of you that is curious and intent on understanding the other.
Be a generous listener. The bamboo leader doesn’t have to take another’s point of view as their own, but she can bend toward the other. Generous listening can yield to a generative conversation. Imagine what could result!
This type of listening demonstrates confidence, openness, flexibility, humility and caring. It is also a sign of respect.
This type of listening builds a bridge toward the other. You can still be firmly rooted and not lose yourself. But you may find yourself changed by listening.
I am afraid to listen, because if I listen, I might understand and be changed by that understanding.- Carl Rogers
Yes, you just might be influenced to change, modify or amplify your point of view. If you are afraid of that, perhaps you are not as certain as you’d like to believe you are about your position? Perhaps you are attached to being right and to holding onto unexamined, but longstanding beliefs?
Bamboo is a great metaphor for leadership. Remember to take time for your own growth and development, to be versatile, to be firmly rooted yet yielding, to be resilient, to manage your boundaries, to be open-hearted and open to learn, and to help others grow and shine.
I hope this post was thought provoking.
Please take a moment to comment and let me know what this post stirred up in you!
Recently, Lolly Daskal honored me with an invitation to co-host her Tweet Chat, #leadfromwithin. If you’ve never participated in one before, I encourage you to try it out. You’ll meet great people and be able to cull out pearls.
I decided to give it a whirl and it didn’t disappoint. The leadfromwithin tweet chat was one wild and thrilling ride–what we used to refer to as an E-Ticket. We all shared and learned from one another about the Enneagram. While some folks had never heard of the Enneagram, others had depth of experience.
In case you missed the Tweet Chat, you can still benefit from my responses to the questions. Below, you can read the tweets (sentences or fragments of 140 characters or less) I shared from the series of questions we explored. These are just mine, but there were many participants all responding to the same questions that created a white water rapids cascade of tweets scrolling down my computer screen. It was an adventure! The engagement and positive response was overwhelmingly positive.
Enjoy and may you find value.
What is the Enneagram?
- Holistic and dynamic system. Horizontal and Vertical movement – nine-pointed symbol
- Describes nine worldviews and associated patterns of thinking, feeling & acting
- Archetypes seen throughout history and across cultures
- A constellation of defenses / coping strategies and the best of who we are
- Points to our fears, desires, beliefs and focus of attention-what drives our life story
How is the Enneagram useful?
- Self-awareness, self-management. Better understanding of self & others
- See yourself more clearly. Uncover blind spots. Loosen the grip of ur gremlins. Grow strengths
- Helps bring your centers of intelligence into balance
- Become less reactive and more responsive when you know your triggers
- Helps us see that we are often the source of our own suffering
What are the advantages of working with the Enneagram?
- Happier. Clarity. More balanced, centered. More available to self and others
- More agile. Larger range of behaviors available. Respond to context rather than react habitually
- Most holistic system I have come across
- Helps ID compulsions so you can catch yourself before acting on them
- It is liberating. Rather than being fixed and rigid, we become free
- Taking the Enneagram journey is akin to taking the Hero’s Journey
Can the Enneagram offer self-insight? If yes, how?
- Gives us a window into our subconscious
- Our subconscious drives our behavior and directs the course of our lives
- It’s a navigation system for your journey through your inner landscape
- It’s a journey to reclaim unknown or unacknowledged parts of self
- Points to our fears, desires, beliefs and where we focus our attention
Can you be more than one Enneagram Type?
- It’s like a diamond. Each Type represents a different facet and shares aspects with the whole
- You share aspects of the two Types alongside your Type—these are your wings
- You have access to aspects of your two connecting points-the lines that connect your Type with two others
- Theory: we are just one Type, but each Type shares aspects of several other Types
- The journey is to to develop all of the other Types within you
How does the Enneagram relate to InsideOut?
- Be the change you want to lead. Change starts with me first
- Helps us stop taking things personally. We become more objective
- When I shift, my relationships with others shift
- Greater ability to engender trust and inspire by how you show up
- You invest in yourself and no one can take those golden nuggets of wisdom and insight away from you
Can the Enneagram help you be a better coach, consultant, leader, manager? If yes, how?
- Gives you the possibility to transform the way you show up as a leader
- As a leader, you’ll increase your ability to influence others and to move an organization forward
- As a coach / consultant, you’ll become a much more effective instrument for change
- Fabulous tool for work with clients – teams and individuals
- Lead change: Great insight into the people you work with – motivations, strengths, and challenges. What makes them tick
Does the Enneagram give us insight to our teams, clients, customers? if yes, how?
- Understand key drivers of others. What makes them tick
- More insight and compassion for others
- Understand how to work more effectively with others
- Understand how to better support and motivate others
- Points to key levers of change for self and others
How does the Enneagram help us leadfromwithin?
- When we shift, we can shift the world
- Change starts with each of us
- What we enact in our outer world affects us and vice-versa
- Improved relationship with self = improved relationship with others
- Connect to your source of power, move from your center, lead with agility
Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself ~ Rumi
I invite you to add to these nuggets of information. Please join the conversation.
Newly included in my posts is artwork by David Templeton–an amazing artist and musician living in Deia, Mallorca. To learn more about David and his art, click here.
Imagine a system that was designed jointly by men and women. What would that be like?
An article published in The Observer by Tim Adams titled: Tesoterone and High Finance Do Not Mix: So Bring On the Women addresses just that question. It is an interesting and timely read with reader comments and reactions that are equally interesting. Much of the article focuses on the effect of hormones on male decision making in high risk situations. To be brief, he quoted the following three studies in the article. Draw your own conclusions:
“The first definitive study in this area appeared in 2001 in a celebrated paper that broke down the investment decisions made with a brokerage firm by 35,000 households in America. The study, called, inevitably, ‘Boys will be Boys’ found that while men were confident in making multiple changes to investments, their annual returns were, on average, a full percentage point below those of women who invested the family finances, and nearly half as much again inferior to single women.”
“A more recent study of 2.7 million personal investors found that during the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, men were much more likely than women to sell any shares they owned at stock market lows. Male investors, as a group, appeared to be overconfident, the author of this study suggested.
‘There’s been a lot of academic research suggesting that men think they know what they’re doing, even when they really don’t know what they’re doing.’
A fact that will come as a surprise to few of us. Men, it seemed, typically believed they could make sense of every piece of short-term financial news. Women, never embarrassed to ask directions, were on the whole far more likely to acknowledge when they didn’t know something. As a consequence, women shifted their positions far less frequently, and made significantly more money as a result.”
“Only 5.5% of executive directors in FTSE 100 companies are women (yet evidence shows that companies with women leaders have a 35% higher return on equity, and companies with more than three women on their corporate board have an 80% higher return on equity).”
In addition to the points made above, other key points I drew from the article:
- In order to create culture change, there needs to be at least 30% representation by women
- Without a minimum of 30% representation, women will try to be surrogate men
- Above it (30%), the subtle differences produced by gender might begin to influence the way decisions are made
- Humans are the only animals that can delay gratification, a function of the prefrontal cortex
- However, the prefrontal cortex only matures after the age of 30, and later in men than women. Before that, we are more likely to seek immediate gratification
- There needs to be greater representation in Investment Banking (both in leadership position and traders) by mature male brains (my words) in addition to women
- More research needs to be done in this area (neuroeconomics)
“Jo Herbert told me at his lab in Cambridge: ‘What is clear is that there are neurological differences between the sexes. Women, in very general terms, are less competitive, and less concerned with the status of being successful. If you want to make women more present, you have to remember two things: the world they are coming into is a man-made world. The financial world. So, either they become surrogate men… or you change the world.’ “
Personally, I prefer we change the world. Attempting to return to the status quo has been the response to the 2008 crisis–and all evidence suggests it’s not working.
Jo Herbert points to a question that has been vexing me for a long time and comes from something I learned in the early years of my career: every system is perfectly designed to achieve the results it gets.
Ergo, if our systems (financial, economic, political, organizations, etc.) are designed by men, is it any wonder that woman are still trying to say, be, act in ways that a man can hear and respect–in other words, we are trying to adjust our style and approach to fit in to a system that was never designed by us, for us or with our contribution? Is it any wonder women act like surrogate men? We either borg, we get spit out of the system or choose to leave to save our souls.
And you? Can you you imagine a system that was designed jointly by men and women. What would that look like?