On International Women’s Day a look at the career of Frankie Mossman, Chief Customer Officer at Overhaul.
By: Frankie Mossman, Chief Customer Officer, Overhaul
I’m not a girl boss. I’m not a lady leader. I’m just a boss, a leader, a chief customer officer helping run a supply chain through a time of crisis.
These well-meaning terms have been a rallying cry for women in business, and not without good reason. Women, of course, have fought for years for inclusion in the workplace – a fight that is still ongoing. There still aren’t enough female executives and decision-makers, and women still have trouble breaking into some male-dominated industries.
But where are the “male moguls” or “dude directors”? Terms like “girl boss” and “lady leaders” have run their course.
On this International Women’s Day, it’s time to make a dedicated push to start recognizing talent for talent, not for gender.
We need to continue to pave the way for women to follow in our footsteps, reaching back and pulling along other potential female leaders. We need to show them that they can have executive presence and still maintain their authenticity. They can continue to drive innovation and workforce culture, not just because they’re female but because they’re capable.
Here’s some advice for women who are or want to be business leaders in the future.
Fearless, not flawless
Women in the workplace sometimes feel the burden of not just having to succeed, but over-succeed. They feel the need to bring a different tenacity in what is already a culture of overworking and put themselves in overdrive and exceed benchmarks just to keep their job.
There’s some reasoning behind this. Women and people of color are often punished more harshly than their male counterparts for the same mistakes, according to a Harvard Business School study.
Male employees are probably less likely to have a fear of making mistakes. They know that they can fail and still have chances to try again.
We need more men and women leaders to create cultures that embrace failure, use mistakes as springboards to learning and growth, and drive success.
We need to nurture the next generation to feel safe and know mistakes are OK. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t need to be flawless, you need to be fearless.
It’s OK to ask for help
Every person at work reaches a point when they need assistance. We don’t know everything. It’s OK to reach out to people who are either thought leaders or better experts in that space.
Women can sometimes feel they need to be resilient and figure solutions out on their own to not look unqualified. But at least in my career, my success is not my success alone. I have an incredibly supportive network of professionals and personal relationships who I trust for advice and mentor and who advocate for me. Leveraging your network for help when you need it is part of the process and will lead to a healthier work environment for the whole company.
Everyone needs a pause
There’s a stigma among workers, but especially women, about taking PTO. In our always-connected world, it can be tempting to always be logged on, always capable of working, even when you’re on vacation.
PTO is for you, earned time away from work. It’s important to understand that “work-life balance” is a lie. There’s no such thing. Rather, it’s all about integration. It’s about time and place and being respectful of where you are at that moment, whether you’re in a meeting, out with your family, or on vacation. It’s OK to work on an important project late at night, but it’s equally important to then take a pause.
I know I’m more productive, more creative, more innovative when I take that pause. Finding that balance not only benefits me, but my team and the company too.
I’ll never forget the work moment that helped shape my future. I was a younger manager at the time, and I wasn’t following the rules I follow now. I worked an insane amount of hours, and didn’t seem to be able to get ahead of things. It had an impact on my family life.
A female colleague pulled me aside one day.
“The reason we promoted you is because you had this natural tendency for continuous improvement,” she told me. “You have this high energy, you get teams pumped. We hired you because you were Frankie, and then we put you in the role and all you’re doing is walking around acting like a white guy.”
I shouldn’t have needed that, but I did. I was a Mexican-American, in my early 30s, in a leadership role, with a family. I needed to embrace who I really was and who I wanted to be. It was then that I was able to drive real impact and started having fun again.
By being my authentic self, a leader on my own terms, I’m creating a standard for my daughter — and all our daughters — to follow, showing her she can do whatever she wants to do.