Don’t Be A Token Leader
By Attiya Karodia
We’re in the midst of a trend which objectifies and makes use of women under the guise of female empowerment. Every brand is doing a “love yourself” campaign, and if you’re plus-size and ‘fierce’, you’re headed for a cover on a fashion magazine, but we haven’t moved forward – we’ve just become tokens.
In the workplace, this concept is used extensively and in conjunction with affirmative action, where being a black woman can get you places. And sure, this is great for us, we’re finally able to move on and upwards, except now your colleagues look at you as though you are undeserving – just a token leader.
So what can we do about it, should we be doing anything at all? Many women are of the opinion that there is no need for us to have to explain ourselves or justify our achievements because of the historic priveliges men have had, but when you’re a leader, earning the respect of your team is key to succeeding.
Here’s my advice, work hard, work harder and the same way that we’ve been breaking glass ceilings, break the notions of ‘spoilt woman’ that have been assigned to you. Make no apologies, and don’t ever detract from your talents. Admitting that you don’t deserve your positition is defeat. And lastly, be the bigger person, mend and build new relationships, don’t be a token leader, be the leader you’ve been asked to be.