01 Feb Yes Women
We’ve all heard of “yes men”. You know the trope; sycophants who suck up to their bosses in order to gain their approval, all to the detriment of the company because no one is willing to stand up to bad ideas. With any negative stereotype, it’s a good idea to peel back the layers and try to assess why our preconceived notions might be wrong. If “yes men” exist only to the detriment of the company, why do they exist at all? What value do they provide to leadership? Being a leader is incredibly taxing, and your decisions are questioned endlessly by stakeholders of all kinds. Maybe it’s valuable to have people agree with your ideas because it helps bring you a sense of security, stability and ease, all qualities that are indispensable to leadership?
When women start a business, they tend to get higher ROI than businesses opened by men. There’s a lot of theories for why this gap might exist, but one of the most prevalent is that it’s harder for women to start a business because there are so many more men who do it; women start businesses about half as much as men. That may be in part because women find it harder to secure funding for their businesses, and that is probably in part because of systemic biases. All of this could shake anyone’s confidence; when less of your peers are doing what you do, and there’s less funding available for you, it’s going to be harder to stay motivated.
You may have heard of imposter syndrome, a condition in which you feel like you don’t belong to a group despite all evidence of the contrary. I’ve certainly felt it before; sometimes when I see a particularly good piece of online journalism, and I’m in awe of their writing ability, I feel like a fraud. When this happens, it can be nice to get a piece of validating information; from a friend, from a family, from someone reading the blog – in short, it can be useful to have someone say “Yes, you’re in the right place, and you’re doing a good job”. A yes man.
We are only capable of making so many decisions in any given day, and those decisions become more difficult the more we doubt ourselves. You’ve likely heard of Obama or Zuckerberg’s wardrobes of same colored suits, used to alleviate decision paralysis. Having a chorus of people chanting “Yes you can” is like a same-colored wardrobe: it alleviates some of the pressure that you’re an imposter who doesn’t know what they’re doing.
Like men, women need confidence, support, someone to say “You’re in the right place, doing the right thing”. Yes women, a support squad, love pouring in to make those decisions a little bit easier. A great women in business speaker provides this kind of support; they’re role models who have been through the trials and tribulations of high-level decision making as a woman, and they’re ready to inspire and cheer for new women who are breaking the mould and creating innovative new services.