I recently interviewed Christine Quinn, the New York City Council speaker who is looking to become the first female mayor of New York City. Quinn is outspoken, bold and isn’t afraid to use profane language when peeved.
This column is not about politics, but rather about gender communication and whether there is a double standard when it comes to outspoken leaders like Quinn, who sometimes make off-color statements in the heat of anger or frustration. Are male and female leaders viewed differently when they say the same things out of frustration?
Let’s face it, any leader who deals with challenging or stressful situations can potentially say or do certain things in public (or more likely in private) to make a point. Sometimes, that communication style makes people uncomfortable or turns them off, but it can get the message across.
Many male executives have histories of threatening, barking or using profanity in the heat of battle or when team members screw up. With all the communication coaching and leadership seminars I’ve conducted, I’d be less than honest if I didn’t admit to communicating in ways that I’m sure the Harvard Business Review would find unorthodox at best.