Are You Supporting or Undermining Your Fellow Female Business Owners?

Men insult each other, but they don’t mean it, Women compliment each other and they don’t mean it either. I found that quote on my Facebook wall one day and I thought, wow, how profoundly true that statement really is. The last few weeks I have been thinking about how women treat each other, the back biting, gossiping, undermining way that we treat each other has a long term profound affect upon women as a whole and maintains a man’s view of women in the work place and in business.

Women are often guilty of Crab mentality, and it is not just a corporate phenomenon. I see this mentality happen everyday with women business owners and on more than a few occasions I have even been the victim of the ladies in the crab pot. In all likelihood I have even been a participant in the crab pot.  Just as one woman rises to the top, all the rest of the women reach up and pull her back down.

Women are often the first to criticize and sabotage one another. When one female business owner has a little success, others will pull her down, withhold connections, referrals and even ignore her. Recently after looking at a list of female entrepreneurs who had won awards for achievement, other women were being petty and unkind about the winners. With comments like “She must have nominated herself” “She is always in it for the glory” “She gets everything like she is the only female business owner out here” and “There are others who are so much more deserving that her.” Susan Tardanico had this to say in Forbes Magazine,  the same behaviors that wound and traumatize us as girls are alive and well in the workplace, undermining our career success.

We worry that one women business owner is going to get further a head in her business than we are, so we don’t choose her to do our business with, we don’t give quality referrals to her so she can grow her business with our connections, we don’t build her up, talk her up, we don’t help her climb that ladder of success.  Worse yet, when she does succeed we will pay lip service to her success, but we will not show up to celebrate with her and we will not give her the credit for hard work to get where she is, we will just compare ourselves to her, find ourselves lacking and talk about how lucky she is.

If we are going to evolve as a gender, if we want to be taken seriously, if we are going to change the world,  then we all have to step into the space of change.

Correct yourself first – if you hear a fellow women business owner being demeaned or negatively talked about, don’t participate. Set the example and refuse to participate, leave the conversation. When we participate in running down another woman we do damage to ourselves and all women. We keep the stereotype alive.

Speak up – take a stand for other women. When you stand by and allow others to ruin the reputation or spread gossip, it is the same as participating in it. “Evil wins when good men stand quietly by.”  It is by our silence that others are allowed to continue.  Speak up and remind the ladies that it could be them that others are talking about.  Then offer 2-3 positive things to the conversation.

Support – Build relationships, make connections, do business with and give quality referrals to the women in your community. Promote their business, show up at their events and give support whenever possible. Stop talking about supporting and start doing it.

Celebrate – Stand up and speak out for the success of other women, even small successes celebrated build spirit and momentum.

Pass on the information, change the conversation, we are women, we have the power to change the world,  but it starts with us.  We may not be able to change all women and how they behave, but we can certainly change how we show up and set the example

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