Are you buffering?
It was yet another cold weekday morning when I woke up to twitter streaming the breaking and the best in our world. News. Views. 140 characters casting aspersions.
Just like any other day. With two differences.
On that morning, a twenty six year old artist, at the top of her game, redefining rules, was burning up the stage at the Grammys and making it look all so simple.
Secondly, despite being logged on, I was not able to see her do so. My screen was buffering! That oh so familiar circular motion that held so much promise, continued to disappoint.
A few more minutes and I switched to another screen! I gave up!
Does this remind you of where we women leaders are? Are we buffering? Are we hitting the brakes too soon?
Leadership is many things to many people. To me, being on top of your game is what makes you a leader – you earn respect, you get followers and you also get dissidents. It is all a part of the package.
We all know that getting to the top is relatively easier than remaining there. And then we begin to buffer in the knowledge that there is something we want to be a part of which is still out there – so close yet so far.
Buffering in our well wired world has to do with the connectivity that powers us. In our real world, women leaders struggle with that for what I believe are three fundamental reasons:
In more cases, by the time you are a leader in your professional arena, your personal life has also reached a happy maturity. Multiplicity of the roles that we are expected to play or we choose to play, leaves us with little or no bandwidth. Co workers, bosses, subordinates, coaches, mothers, wives, daughters, neighbours, chefs, host, zoomba dancer, power yoga practitioner – we want to be the best in all.
And we want it within the same 24 hours. It defines us, it makes us matter. It also makes us sleep deprived.
Leaders trigger changes. In order to be the one to flip this switch of change, you have to be a part of a club that backs you and makes you. Often we have seen women struggling to be a part of the club – the club that matters, that moves and shakes up the corporate world. Traditionally it is defined as the boys club. But boys or no boys, this is the club that truly defines the narrative.
In our well wired wifi’d world, we are always expected to be plugged in. There is no 9 to 5. There are no weekends. Work-work balance is truer than work-life balance. In this world how many of the women leaders can claim to have a well oiled support system as a fail safe? Can we claim behind every successful woman, there is someone holding fort? How many of us have that great plug point for recharge and reboot?
To come back to where I started, so what could I have done differently on that cold weekday morning?
I could have rebooted
I could have reminded myself of what the goal was and ploughed on.
I could have refreshed.
I could have changed the perspective and hence the game.
I could have tried another device. I could have found another way.
Then I may have been able to experience the glitter in my veins along with all those who watched Taylor Swift singing “The rest of the world was black and white / But we were in screaming color … Are we out of the woods yet?”
So the question I leave you with is - When will be out of the woods?
By Deepa Dey
The author is the Head of Communications at GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Heathcare