Being a girl, being a Team Leader

So now I am a team leader on a project for a NGO, and being a leader means a lot for me. But there are many struggles as well, even more when you are a girl.

My first struggles were against myself and my insecurities. When I did the proposal to the NGO, I didn't put there the name of any team leader: but when a NGO representative interviewed our team, it was one of the first questions she made: who is the team leader? I was the one who wrote the proposal and invited every other team's participants (4 people), but then I didn't felt I could answer that question on that moment, so I said: "I'll tell you the answer until the end of the week". I even insinuated for a guy in my team (let's call him John*) that he should be the team leader (even thought the obvious answer for who would be the leader would be me) and fortunately he either didn't understood my insinuation or wasn't willing to take this responsibility. So I ended up being the leader.

Despite the fact that I was the leader of those 4 paid people plus 2 volunteers engaged with the NGO who were willing to help on this project, I had a contact person in this NGO (the director of the NGO, that lets call her Martha*) who I didn't consider under my leadership, but as my boss and my contributor. For the first time in my life, I was guided by a woman: and it was just amazing and inspiring! During my life, I barely had the chance to contribute with a woman (in every work experiences that I had before in tech, the teams where 90% men, and everyone in leadership positions were men), so imagine being guided by a women!

My second struggle was that not everyone accepts receiving negative feedback from a woman. The board of the NGO was very unsatisfied with the work of one of the team's member (hello, John) and they told this to Martha, who told about the problems to John and to me. John instead of taking this feedback to improve his work, just ignored it (really). So I decided with Martha that we had to less gentle warn this worker because maybe he didn't understood from the past time that he should do something about his mistakes.

The problem is that the reaction of John was totally unexpected: instead of accepting the bad feedback made by us, he decided to show up our feedback made privately to everyone and argue with us in front of the board members of this organization, and say that we were really unfair leaders, and he wished to be lead by a male board member (let's call him Antonio*). John just stopped to accuse us (me and Martha) for being unfair and evil leaders when Antonio told him exactly the same thing we did, telling him that this opinion came mainly from him: from there, he stopped to complain about the things he heard.

Unfortunately, sometimes women need men just to have reason in front other men.

* The names are fake because I didn't want to expose any of involved people.

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