Women

Women and Business Challenges

Women in Leadership

You can launch 1,000 clichés about women in business, but it doesn’t change the fact that they’re hardwired to be caretakers. Does that mean they cannot be great leaders? Of course not! Women have to properly navigate the fine line between mothering and smothering. There’s mothering: teaching skills, setting up the company for success, being tough when it’s necessary. Then, there’s smothering: doing it all yourself, wrapping everyone else in proverbial bubble-wrap and taking all the stress and all the consequences upon yourself.

You don’t want to devolve into a caveman, using brute force and intimidation, but you also cannot be soft as a marshmallow. If you’re a successful and benevolent leader, when you do exercise tough love, it will be all the more powerful and effective.

Contractors

It’s probably in your nature to hear problems or excuses and respond with soothing encouragement. If you’re working with a contractor, don’t fall prey to this instinct. Enter into projects with clear expectations and deadlines. Hold service providers responsible for their end of the bargain. Never (okay, almost never) pay in full up front. If you have an issue with the work, document it in writing. If construction or contractor services go wrong, even just off-schedule, it can cost your business time, energy, stress and money. Unless you’ve thoroughly documented everything, it will be hard to seek damages or any other sort of reparation. When it comes to contractors assume the worst — that if you give an inch, they’ll take a mile — so you can achieve the best possible outcome.

Business Partners

Don’t be afraid to negotiate with service providers and business partners, especially if you have a significant amount of purchasing power. Keeping good records, making concise requests and paying your bills on time (or early) will keep you in their good graces. By being a good customer, you’ll earn the credibility to ask for a rush shipment or special favors from time to time. If something isn’t as promised, give them the chance to correct it. If it’s a one-shot deal, like a rush printing job for a major meeting, tell your provider that it’s a high-stakes job. Give the provider an opportunity to wow you. If you’re using a Plum Card from American Express to pay vendors, you’ll have the added benefit of purchase protection, just like a personal card, which can take a big load off your plate.

Customers

It’s a catchy saying: “The customer is always right.” It’s less catchy to say, “Most customers are right, but some customers are users and not worth having at all.” The latter, however, is closer to the truth. In every industry there will be customers who take you for granted. They’ll want to take advantage of a tiny misprint in an ad or return an item that’s been used until it’s nearly unrecognizable. Customers that are leeches are generally not worth having, but it’ll be up to you (the leader) to identify and deal with them. Asking your entry or lower level associates to do so could end in disaster.  

Employees

No great leader I can think of wakes up saying, “Wow, if I can scream at someone it would really make today fantastic.” Likewise, no employee walks into work thinking, “Gee, getting a verbal lashing today would really improve my morale.” Identify what is non-negotiable in your office and have clear job descriptions. Find areas where there’s a little room for interpretation or flexibility. Be clear with employees on firm and soft rules. When someone transgresses on a hard and fast rule, correct it immediately. If it isn’t addressed quickly, the employee might think it’s not such a big deal and escalate the behavior.

Women should never feel they are any less prepared and suited to be business leaders than men.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Domestic Violence Ends Where Good Parenting Begins

One of my Facebook friends and loyal readers, Ginnie Ann Daniels, inspired me to pen this present piece about how good parenting can eliminate domestic violence. Ginnie taught her children at an early age about how not to abuse others and those values have persisted throughout their lives. Children are very impressionable. What you do and say to a child can stay with him or her a lifetime. We all know that the horrible things that you say to your child can be very damaging, but we need to know that the positive things that we say to children can last them a lifetime. If we educate our female and male children that it is an abominable thing to engage in abusing others, then we can make significant progress toward ending domestic violence. You have to educate your children about not engaging in any type of violence if we are to end domestic violence. We have to teach children that violence is not simply physical, but it can be mental and emotional. You don’t have to lay your hands on a person to abuse him or her. It is important for us to communicate this to children. When they have an early understanding about abuse and the harm that it does, then the anti-violence values we place in them will be much more likely to persist throughout their adulthood.

I contend that good parenting must include education about how to be a civil person. When you abuse someone, you are not being civil. Parents have a responsibility to teach their children about how to be civil members of society.

Don’t think that just because you have girls that this excludes you from teaching them about not abusing others. Females engage in abusing males too. Don’t get it twisted! It is much less talked about and underreported. Teach your girls about how to respect other females and males.

I strongly oppose parents who rear their boys to become thugs. When you rear your boys to become thugs or to develop overly aggressive behavior, you are making them ripe candidates to be abusive to women. The overly aggressive and thuggish behavior that they develop as little children will most likely continue on into their adult lives. You have a great opportunity to train them as little boys to develop healthier behavior that is going to promote civility.

Schools need to play a stronger role in helping children to learn about and understand the different forms of violence. Our children need to have a more sophisticated understanding about what abuse and violence is. I would like to see schools that use “character education” place more emphasis on educating students about different forms of violence and abuse. I think that even History courses serve as valuable opportunities to teach students about how to avoid abuse and violence and to educate them about the consequences of abuse and violence. For instance, when discussing issues about war, this gives teachers an opportunity to tell students about how abuse and violence played an instrumental role in the causes and consequences of the war(s) being discussed.

Although I want schools to increase their efforts to educate students about abuse and violence, I want parents to place an even greater emphasis on education about abuse and violence. Don’t always look for schools to be the answer to the social, cognitive, and emotional development needs of your children.

I am not saying that you should not teach your children about self-defense, but what I am saying is that you should teach them to avoid unnecessary abuse and violence.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Stop Letting Your Husband or Boyfriend Beat You

For that woman out there whose husband or boyfriend is beating you, I pray that you will contact the police and let them know what is going on. Women, you are too precious and beautiful to allow a man to beat you. Of course, I understand that women do beat men, but this piece is devoted to women, who are unquestionably the greatest victims of physical and emotional abuse. A man does not have to physically hit you for it to be abuse. The most damaging abuse is emotional abuse because it can be more difficult to overcome. If your man is emotionally abusing you, please get out of the relationship with him.

I have seen too many men who emotionally abuse their women and do not see the tremendously violence that they are doing to them. You don’t own these women! When a man emotionally and physically abuses a woman, he is simply a coward. Why don’t you step to another man and try to do the same thing? If you need someone to pick on, I am always available! For men who are friends with other men who abuse their women, you guys need to be real men and stop them from beating on their women.

About three months ago, I had a conversation with a guy in Madison, Wisconsin who believes it is not another man’s place to try to intervene in another man’s relationship with his woman when there is some question about whether the man is abusing the woman. I let him know I disagreed with him very much. I think it is always best to err on the side of life and on the side of protecting our women from harm.

I have some strong feelings that a man I know in Madison, Wisconsin is emotionally and/or physically abusing his wife.  I have to admit that I don’t care too much for the lady’s husband anyway, but I do love the sweet personality of the man’s wife. I’m going to get this man arrested and put in jail because I am a mastermind and am going to prove he is beating his wife. He thinks he has been getting away with it, but I am going to bring him down!

I want women to start rising up against domestic violence. In your efforts to rise up against domestic violence, I want you to be more concerned about not being emotionally and physically abusive to men too. Women must form partnerships to combat domestic violence because most cases of domestic violence go unreported. I refuse to sit on the sidelines and watch the women in my environment continue to be victimized by abusive men. I will lead an effort and movement to see that any man who hits a woman ends up in jail for a long time. Keep your hands off these women!

Stop raising your voices and screaming at these women trying to intimidate them—this is emotional abuse. If you are a man and you feel the need to raise your voice at a woman and scream at her, please forget about yelling at her and come scream at me. I got the cure for all that screaming! Women, when these men start yelling at you trying to intimidate you, call the police on them. Now, I am not telling you to do trifling stuff like call the police on men just to try to make them mad, but I want you to call the police on men who are legitimately trying to intimidate you and who have a strong possibility of putting their hands on you in a violent way.

Stop the violence today!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison