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We’ll come to you.

Maybe a woman president is an idea
whose time has not come

When a man comes off overbearing to the point of being an a**hole, you can still find something to respect about him, even if you don't like him.

When a woman comes off that way, she can only be seen as a b*tch, which you're hard pressed to either respect or like.

Women rising through the corporate ranks have long battled this challenge.

What's a woman to do?

There is a formula that works well with either gender, that I explained in the chapter, "Taking the Bait," in my book, Get Out of Your Own Way at Work (Perigee, 2006) with regard to how to remain cool, calm and centered when you are baited.

Aggression + Principle = Conviction
Aggression - Principle = Hostility

That means in essence, anger makes you wild; conviction makes you strong. The key to having conviction is to wrap your aggression around a principle as opposed to it being wrapped around nothing, thus causing it to look completely "personal" and like you've lost your cool.

Hillary did that in New Hampshire and at the end of the debate in Texas, when perhaps due to sheer exhaustion, she lowered her guard, became a little more authentic (and touchable) and let some of her humanity show. Each time she let the principle she was standing up for take the forefront. In New Hampshire is was the chance for America to change from where it has been for seven years. In Texas it was focusing the notion of being tested on the young men and women who are tested every day in Iraq and Afghanistan and come back showing the toll that war takes on soldiers and their families.

Unfortunately, when she regained some of her energy, her humanity took a back seat and she went from talking with us, back to talking at us - which obliterates the credible points in her message.

Shame on you Hillary! You really do have much to say and much that you stand for, and you are dishonoring it with your scolding, taking-it-personally style.

(c) 2008 Mark Goulston

Mark Goulston's Usable Insight blog