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Should Women In Business Play By The Rules?


A week doesn't go by that I am not ask by a woman in business, or woman entrepreneur, what she should do in a particularly situation. Basically, she is asking, "Should I play by the rules?" Vicki, woman entrepreneur leading

My answer is always the same. "What rules? The only rules I know are lead, follow, or get out of the way!"

If you want to be seen as a leader, YOU MUST LEAD. Literally or figuratively, take the microphone and direct the conversation so those present will know they are in good hands to advance.

If the situation demands that your role is to follow, than do so with attitude and commitment. The followers need a leader and that position is yours if you accept it immediately with confidence and pledge to see it through to the end.

Of course, every now and then, there is a woman in business (yes, men too!) who refuses to take the lead, or graciously accept the opportunity to follow. This individual MUST get out of the way. As a business coach, I have often told a client that her incapacity to lead or be part of the team requires her to step back. Mark my words, getting in the way is a career killer no matter what the situation!

Women entrepreneurs, and particularly women in business, cannot and MUST not whine. As Tom Hanks says in the movie A League of Their Own there is no crying in baseball and therefore there is no whining in work!

Yes, too many women whine and some men moan, but the 10 Rules of Building A Business are all about commitment, sharing, motivating, communicating, appreciating, listening and most of all finding your niche and doing it your own way.

What every woman in business must learn is that she is a unique individual, with rare talents that when unearthed may change the world -- or at least a little part of it. When she is held back by the belief that there are rules that she must operate within she deprives others of her greatness.

As women continue to leave corporate America in droves due to their belief that the rules are holding them back, I am reminded of the old saying "rules are meant to be broken". After all, it is very clear the rules weren't created by women or for women.

Of course, the rules I am speaking of here are not rules protecting people, places or things from harm, but more likely those frivolous work rules of who one can talk to, when and where, and how one can climb to the top of the organization. These are the rules that, quite frankly, need to be broken and thrown out with all the rest of the archaic thinking of generations past.

Women in business and women entrepreneurs must prove that the new rules of business foster success for both men and women. Leadership is not gender specific and therefore stepping up to the plate is the first rule to success.

So, the next time you feel bogged down by the rules ask yourself is the true answer for you to:

(1) Lead

(2) Follow, or just

(3) Get out of the Way

It's your turn to lead if you are prepared to do so! Just do it!


If you are looking for a book on why women are the leaders who will change the world, check out HER TURN Why It's Time For Women To Lead in America - by Vicki Donlan


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