In August of 2020, I wrote an article called “Another Crack in the Glass Ceiling,” celebrating the historic nomination of Kamala Harris as the vice-presidential candidate, and the challenges she may face as a woman leader within society’s man’s leadership model.
As I predicted, she was continuously held under intense scrutiny. During the election campaign trail, attacks against her from many in the media were laced with sexist and racist tropes. An article in Vox noted how her blackness was put into question, how Fox News host Tucker Carlson (and others) purposely continued to disrespectfully mispronounce her name, and claims were reportedly made even by Democratic insiders that she is “too ambitious” for the job. It has been noted by researchers that pundits and press tend to zoom in on female politicians’ perceived “shrillness,” ambition, attractiveness, and overall “likability” among voters — “characteristics that are rarely criticized, if not applauded, in their male counterparts.” We saw that during this campaign with her as well as other women candidates. A tough hill to climb.
Yet, she made it! Here we are with a tremendously capable woman as our vice president who has shattered numerous glass ceilings. I had noted in my article that one person suggested amid the complaints, “let Kamala be Kamala.” I believe she achieved this brilliantly and serves as an example for women to step into their Comfluential™ Leadership styles unapologetically.
What is Comfluential Leadership? It’s a model which allows people to bring the best of their masculine and feminine qualities (we all have each within us to some degree) to the table for holistic, empowered, powerful leadership. What does that look like?
In Kamala Harris we see a person who is multi-layered in her background, ethnicity, and life choices. From all appearances, she is proud of who she is, so she acts from that powerful place of authenticity and clarity. She doesn’t seem to be afraid to bring out her masculine AND feminine qualities and to show who she is as a woman and as a leader.
Here are just a few examples that I have noticed — maybe you have other examples: as a tough-as-nails prosecutor (strong “masculine” traits), champion of family values and children (often seen as “feminine issues”), proud to talk about her modest immigrant background; showing unwavering commitment to issues that are important to her constituents — not backing down to (male) pressure; making what society judged as an unconventional (unacceptable) choice for a woman by marrying at 50 (and a Jewish white man at that); her dedication to sisterhood in her personal relationships and the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority (the nation’s oldest sorority for black women).
By the way, in my article I wondered if she would bring her more feminine, personal side out, using the example of being an avid animal lover. Yes, she is — although not a dog owner herself, she welcomes dogs into her office, as “paw-licy” advisors. Sense of humor, too — a key part of leadership!
Like Kamala Harris, we women all have our own unique layers and stories, and when we embrace and embed the concepts of Comfluence™, we can bring our full selves, in all our masculine and feminine strengths, to extraordinary leadership. Do you dare to lead in this way?
I love this quote by Martha S. Jones about Kamala, “Folks are going to have to adapt to her rather than her adapting to them.”
Wouldn’t you love people to say that about you? What can you do today to honor a part of you that you feel has been tamped down by a society that is unjustly judgmental about women as leaders?
Contact me here to talk about the ways that you can boost your Comfluential Leadership quotient.
Linda Patten is a Leadership Trainer for women entrepreneurs and change-makers. Her vision for every woman is to become the natural leader she is meant to be, through teaching an empowering mindset, masculine AND feminine leadership skills, and how to activate a vision into a full-bodied business or social change movement.
For opportunities to awaken and empower the leader within you, please visit Dare2LeadwithLinda.
Appreciate this article. I agree that some will definitely have to adapt to Kamala Harris. And, that is a good thing. The glass ceiling is falling down.