I’ve been listening to the book Radical Candor, by Kim Scott, and wow, Chapter 6 – Guidance, nailed it. Finally, the answer to why walkouts occur and the BIG WHY for me and many other salon owners. Why do the people who walk out most often try to discredit and destroy our reputations and businesses on the way out? Actually, it is a very destructive behavior for all women and Kim explains why.  We’ve been told over and over again that our walkout was a salon thing and that it was all our fault. I researched, I studied.  I soon realized that it was happening over and over to salon owners all over the country. But why, how? I wanted the answers. All the women I interviewed said the same thing, “I was blindsided.   I was so good to them.  I haven’t paid myself in months. Why are they saying I was abusive, or a bitch, or a slave driver, a micromanager? “  Or,  the new negative connotation for a female boss, especially a successful one, the dreaded “narcissist.”   

You see Kim Scott watched the negative talk happen over and over again in silicon valley where the stakes are high. Where the highest of high performing women are experiencing the same thing.  This is why it is so destructive to the success of all women, and why Kim states in her book, “It needs to stop.”

So here it is, a successful female boss starts being beaten down by men and other women who feel lesser than her, they need to feel better about themselves. ”She’s too aggressive, she’s a micromanager, a narcissist.”  It causes women who are natural caretakers to rethink what we are doing and we become less authoritative and vocal. We become less effective at getting the results expected of ourselves and our staff at work.  We shrink our voices, we shrink our expectations, we shrink our effectiveness. The men who are viewed as “go-getters, ” or “strong leaders,” rise, where we women soften so that our counterparts won’t call us disparaging unflattering connotations.  The men and women who want us to be smaller succeed in deflating us, so they no longer feel small. Kim identifies studies that reveal that employees do not identify their male bosses’ characteristics the same way they do female bosses. Therefore, the men continue to rise, their salaries continue to rise and they continue to outperform the women in silicon valley.

I also received additional feedback from another psychologist after questioning the why behind the behavior surrounding salon walkouts. Basically, all the bad-mouthing, that the staff member walking out with “their friends,” and “their clients,” is due to the need to make your actions worse than theirs in order to justify the destruction of your business and livelihood that they are about to deliver you on a silver platter.  Instead of trying to discredit and destroy successful women, we need to reach out to them for mentoring, support, advice, collaboration, and come together so the entire gender can rise. Women, we have got it all wrong and we are actually hurting each other and ourselves.  We need to stop!  

How many successful salons that have male or female owners have you heard are mean, or a bitch, or a bad person, or treat their people poorly, or steal money for themselves?  I have sat in interviews across my desk listening to candidates completely bash their former bosses.  Every salon owner I have interviewed is quite the opposite!  Their innate nature as leaders, women, hairdressers, or estheticians is exactly the opposite. They are nurturers, caretakers and care deeply about their businesses, but more about their people, all people! The women who are threatened, or feel inadequate, need to feel better or bigger about themselves by knocking those women who deeply cared for them, trained them, mentored, and sacrificed for them. Business owners, including salon leaders,  often sacrifice pride, paychecks, and time with their own families to support their staff, their clients, and their businesses!  

So I want you to stop, stop believing the stories that it was your fault and you need to change. Actually, our entire gender norm needs to change and stop the vicious cycle if we are ever to rise above and thrive in society. Think of the wise man or the wise woman in an Indian tribe. The younger warriors and wives go to them for their years of knowledge, stories of survival, and to receive advice.  That is how we need to start treating each other. Give gratitude and respect.  Seek out advice from the female trailblazers who have come before you, instead of tearing them down.

So here goes, thank you Kim Scott for your years of observation, pushing forward, raising up, and managing men and women alike. For writing your book and finally giving me the answer to the question I have been pondering and trying to figure out for many, many years.