Historically the picture of a successful leader has been decidedly male. Although the landscape of leadership is beginning to change in terms of gender equality, men still outnumber women in leadership roles.
Generally speaking, leadership trainings tend to promote a more aggressive, get it done at all cost way of leading. Women who try to wear this style of leadership are seen as bitchy and unsympathetic, which is not how they are in their real lives.
In the process of trying to be more assertive and more aggressive, women end up feeling like they are becoming someone else. This in-authenticity leads to women leaders feeling isolated; they don’t really fit in with their male counterparts and the women around them don’t trust them.
I want to dispel the misconception that women have to think and act like a man to be successful leader. I believe this is harming the souls of women and robbing industries of the influence women naturally bring (women influence 85% of purchasing decisions worldwide).
For a long time my leadership style was very masculine based. I used to say it was because I’m a New Yorker with a Type A personality. But the truth was, I had unwittingly accepted this was how I had to be if I was going to be a leader.
There came a point though where I felt I wanted to do things a bit differently and started to be more compassionate and empathetic as I lead my teams. I didn’t realize it at the time but I was starting to bring more of the feminine traits into my leadership.
Funny thing is when I started to do this I felt more like myself as a leader. I also believe this was when I really started to thrive as a leader. Up until then I was floundering in this leadership suit that didn’t quite fit me but when I brought the other side of me into it, I started to act and feel like the person I knew myself to be.
As I am advocating that women show up fully in their leadership, I want to be clear that I am not proposing that the male style of leadership is wrong. I simply believe it to be unbalanced.
The chart above details traits common in masculine vs. feminine leadership. I think if too much of either side is present leadership becomes ineffective. Both male and female attributes are needed. This is not an either/or but rather a both/and scenario.
For too long it’s been only the masculine way and there are many advocating only the feminine way. I say let’s do both! Let’s find a way to balance both sets of attributes as we lead.
As a woman leader you can bring all of you into your leadership without compromising your effectiveness. Be brave enough to let your true self be seen as you lead which includes your feminine qualities.
From my heart to yours,
If you are a woman leader and you’re ready to be fully who you are rather than trying to be someone you are not, I would love to talk with you to see if I can support you in your journey. Click here to schedule a complimentary discovery session with me.