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Let’s Talk Pushy

Join this month’s forum, as we tackle the p-word. What’s your experience of the term “pushy” as it relates to you, and to all women?

Mohr, Tara“‘Pushy’ is such an interesting term because work that is worthy of our time and energies often involves pushing for something. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were pushy—pushing against the legislation and culture of their time—and as a result, you and I can vote. Today, women push for improvements to our communities, for more transparency and accountability from those in power, for better lives for our kids. As bosses, we push for excellence, from ourselves and from those with whom we work. Women who push, are, of course, inconvenient challengers to the status quo. Let’s keep pushing.”

–Tara Sophia Mohr, author of “Playing Big: Find Your Voice, Your Mission, Your Message”

Kate White“I call it the pushy paradox. When men push they can be seen as going for it, being all in, whereas a woman who pushes can be assessed as being up someone’s grill. That said, it’s always important to be aware of how you are perceived in the workplace. Listen, pay attention to feedback, respond to feedback. If you ruffle too many feathers, regardless of whether you’re in the right or not, it can bite you in the butt.”

–Kate White, New York Times best-selling author and internationally known leadership expert

Healy, Amanda“Do me a favor and type ‘Pushy’ into Microsoft Word. Right click and hit ‘Synonyms’. Like what you see? Neither do I… Forceful, aggressive, loudmouthed, brash—these are the equivalents of ‘pushy.’ Men are more often described as ‘assertive.’ The synonyms? Self-confident, self-assured, positive. It’s the old ‘boss’ versus ‘bossy’ conundrum. We use a different set of vocabulary to describe similar dispositions displayed by women and men.”

—Amanda Healy, marketing program manager at TIBCO Software, Inc.