28 July 2018

Front Line

A career management briefing for
visionary women

Who do you consider to be a real entrepreneur?

A recent discussion outlined the changing nature of what it means to be an entrepreneur in the popular imagination.

Is a true entrepreneur one who identifies and leverages commercial opportunities? Do you have to be successful at starting businesses to earn the title of ‘entrepreneur’? Or are real entrepreneurs those who both invent a new product or service, and develop a viable business around it? Are those who sign up as entrepreneurs at organisations like The Bakery simply hired talent? Discuss!

For a weighty academic treatment of entrepreneurship, we recommend The Wiley Handbook of Entrepreneurship. To find out whether you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur, you might want to take the META psychometric (contact us for further details).

Men have it different, not necessarily easier

The Washington Post covered the experiences of four transgender men in an OpEd piece last Friday. It provided an uncommon view into the way these American men experienced differences in how they were treated after transitioning from female to male. We highlight some of the experiences that surprised us:

“A [...] grad student I’d been mentoring [...] started coming on to me, stalking me, sending me emails and texts. My adviser and the dean — both women — laughed it off. [...] I felt like as a guy, I was not taken seriously. I had experienced harassment as a female person at another university and they had reacted immediately, sending a police escort with me to and from campus. I felt like if I had still been in my old body I would have gotten a lot more support.”

“Prior to my transition, I was an outspoken radical feminist. [...] I was encouraged to speak up. [...] When I speak up now, I am often given the direct or indirect message that I am “mansplaining,” “taking up too much space” or “asserting my white male heterosexual privilege.”

“Being a black man has changed the way I move in the world. I used to walk quickly or run to catch a bus. Now I walk at a slower pace, and if I’m late I don’t dare rush. I am hyper-aware of making sudden or abrupt movements, especially in airports, train stations and other public places. [...] The less visible I am, the better my chances of surviving.”

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Shame: A candid treatment. Part III

We’ve looked at shame and how it is about what you want to show, what you want to hide, and what you want to protect. Shame can induce powerful and damaging mental and emotional responses. Our internal psychological defences can support us against these. However, they can also lead to unintended consequences for our career and how we show up as leaders.

Last week, we considered the disempowering effect of shame and the psychological defence of ‘feelings of grandiosity’. Being shamed can also feel like a threat to what matters to us. It may violate the privacy of something we care about, or endanger that which is vital to our sense of self, and how we are able to cope and get on in the world. The important thing to remember is that it doesn’t matter whether others think that a shaming act should actually make you feel endangered, violated, upset, angered. What matters are the feelings and responses that it gives rise to within you, your intrapsychic reality.

Fantasies of destruction are one such response to this. As before, the term ‘fantasy’ describes where we let our minds wander to. Impulses we may experience include ‘I want to damage what matters to the person who shamed me’, ‘I want to destroy the person who shamed me’, ‘I want to contain the person who shamed me’. Often, these impulses will be subtler and may come in the form of passive aggression or microaggressions: ‘Who does she think she is’ followed by an unflattering remark about that person; or, 'They just can’t get away with this’ coupled with it slipping your mind to hand an important document on time.

Next week we will be looking at perfectionism as a way of dealing with shame.

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