Stop duding it up bro, it’s uncool

These are not my words. They are the words of a senior female leader. Who is the only female on an all-male leadership team. When I asked how her team was performing, she told me that she was over it. She was over the bro talk, the bro culture, the duding it up. She was packing it in, to find something else, another leadership team to be part of. 

And rightly so.  

I really get this one. I am a dude’s dude. When I am around other dudes, I bro it up. And love it. I’m ocker as all get out, I’m as country as they come.  

But I choose to be self-aware. I choose to sit with leadership teams, or even one on one with clients, and I choose to lean into respect, dignity, and inclusion. I choose to lean into diverse decision making, not group think, and I choose to lean into acceptance, not ignorance. 

And 10 years ago, that was difficult for me. Now, it is somewhat second nature. Because I choose to, not because I have to. I don’t tell you this to impress you, I share this to impress upon you, that the dude and bro and mate languaging in the board room is not helping your female co-leaders to feel safe and included. 

I had never heard the term duding it up until this week. But I am glad I did, it really got me thinking, and I thought I would have reflected on since I heard the term. 

1. That female leader was right 

I feel like it is easy to get wrong. I feel like it is easy to dude it up. I feel like it is easy to appear to be less inclusive than you mean to be. Just through your languaging. And that is uncool. It is never too late to be inclusive. Leadership is inclusive. 

And it might not just be females that feel excluded, it could be those with a different sexuality, or gender, or non-gender as the case may be, or it could be those with a different nationality. Be aware of how your references, how your jokes, how your symbols could be interpreted.  

If you and your team have been together forever, it is easy to understand how you could not yet have the awareness of how your behaviour might impact others. And how your decision making (by the same few males) might be interpreted as group think. 

Pro tip: Be willing to change. Be committed to change. Be aware of your behaviour. Be aware of how you are interpreted. Be the leader or the team who reads this post and acts on it. 

2. Discuss this post as a leadership team 

Get all the ‘dudes’ on your leadership team together and have a conversation about this post. Openly challenge each other’s thinking around inclusion. Openly talk through what is acceptable and what is not, moving forward. Openly discuss what this all means to you, and why it is important.  

And while you are discussing this post, imagine that you are not a dude. Not one of the in crowd, not one of the decision makers. Imagine for a moment that you are an outsider, who doesn’t feel psychologically safe or willing to contribute ideas or opinions. Try to empathise with that person and unpack what their experience would be. 

Pro tip: And while you are having this discussion, try this one thing – try to go through the whole meeting without saying he or she. Not because they are pronouns, but because they are impersonal. Imagine for a moment, you only used people’s names, not their pronoun. Kym said, Jack said, Paul said. It takes efforts.  

3. Become a facilitator  

Please breathe as you read this next line… 

You are not a good leader, if you are not a good facilitator. Yes, you read that right. If you are a senior leader, and you don’t have the ability to facilitate a discussion between a group or team that includes everyone, it might be time to brush up on your leadership skills. 

Conversely, if you are a leader who is part of a leadership (or other) team, and you don’t have the ability to contribute to inclusive and healthy discussion, it might be time to think about how you are contributing to the team outcomes. And how you are making other people feel. 

And here is something that I know to be true, and that is the best leaders are the best team members first. If you don’t play well in a team environment, it will be very difficult for you to lead teams. Sadly.  

Pro tip: Learn facilitation skills. Question, listen, question. In that order. Repeat. 

In summary, stop duding it up, bro. Include others.  

It really isn’t that hard! 

And please click the image below if you’d like to chat about what leadership means to you.

If you would like to learn more about Anton or The Guinea Group, please click hereto book into Anton’s calendar, to:

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About Anton

Anton has dedicated his working life to helping leaders to upgrade their mindset, upskill their leadership, and uplift their teams! With a focus on helps leaders to better lead under pressure. Anton is an entrepreneur, speaker, consultant, bestselling author and founder of The Guinea Group. Over the past 19 years, Anton has worked with over 175+ global organisations, he has inspired workplace leadership, safety, and cultural change. He’s achieved this by combining his corporate expertise, education (Bachelor of HR and Psychology), and infectious energy levels.
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