Shards from a shattered glass ceiling

Shards from a shattered glass ceiling

Stop making excuses for your inadequacies as a leader in veterinary practice and start focusing on what you can do to improve.
Mar 01, 2013

A good friend of mine threw a baited hook into the electronic waves of Facebook recently—one I couldn't help but swallow along with the sinker. It was a link to a blog titled "How female leaders should handle double standards," which detailed the trials of female bosses who struggle with their image as leaders. The author asked, "What to do then in a world when image and perceptions matter and gender stereotypes remain firmly entrenched?"

Where's this writer living? I work with all kinds of team members who answer to men and women, and I can attest to the fact that those owners and managers endure the same hardships of leadership regardless of their sex. For any woman—or man, for that matter—to single out their leadership woes as attributable to their sex or sexuality isn't working in any veterinary practice I know of.

And if that crack doesn't get you firing off a couple of barbed tweets and Facebook posts, this will: If there are sex-based aspersions lobbed at female leaders in the veterinary workplace, they are not from the men in the building (if there are any)—they're from other women!

Were I to tally up a list of derogatory comments made about female leaders rooted in the leader's sex, the majority would be attributed to other women. Any man that is using derogatory, sexual labels for a female leader is just as likely to belch out loud and pick at his underpants through his jeans. In both cases, the remarks aren't so much rooted in sexism as they are in poor manners, naivetÉ, and bad upbringing.

Female leaders need to stop rapping on a glass ceiling that was shattered years ago. Today's labor force is far too cash-strapped and weary to worry about any employer's sex. They just want a fair leader who demonstrates wise governance and concern for their well-being.

Struggling to become a "female leader" is a premise that begins with self-imposed limits. Instead, just invest 100 percent of your time in your leadership attributes—period. And damn the sexist torpedos fired in your direction. Most all of them are blanks anyway. Successful private veterinary practices—some of the small businesses that should be the backbone of this country—have little time for leaders so easily distracted by the comments coming from the galley.

Bash Halow, CVPM, LVT, is a partner at Halow Tassava Consulting in New York City, Indianapolis and Wyalusing, Pa.

Hot topics on dvm360

Pol on defense as Michigan veterinary board discusses negligence charges

Controversial reality TV veterinarian calls his approach 'common sense.'

Photo gallery: The top 10 veterinary schools in America, according to U.S. News

U.S. News & World Report ranks programs for the first time since 2011.

Front Desk Disasters, Episode 3: Dude looks like a lady

Everyone's favorite receptionist is at it again. Would you handle this situation differently?

Video: Flea hideouts in the house

Parasitology expert Michael Dryden, DVM, MS, PhD, reveals prime hideouts for fleas—and gives tips to clear them out of clients' homes for good.

Veterinarians: Your clients are going to Google with these cat questions

You might be surprised by what your clients are researching. Plus, get an educational client handout.