It’s the 21st century and we’re still trying to figure out how we, as women, should go about being business leaders. Truth is, it is quite simple – our femininity is our superpower.
I know, it’s much easier said than done when women in power positions are in the minority and we are judged by men’s standards from the get-go. The biggest issue back in the day, however, was that we didn’t have women in those positions to be role models and therefore our definition of a successful businessperson were mostly men. It’s then no surprise that we ended up showcasing masculine characteristics in order to be taken seriously in the business world, when in fact, we should be playing up our natural, feminine qualities.
Our biggest strengths lie in bringing empathy, warmth, compassion and collaboration into the workplace. In addition to this, two of the main reasons we make great leaders is that we value work life balance, mostly because we are familiar with the mental load; and we’re strong communicators. Together, these qualities tend to breed positive workspaces, a safe workspace for men and women; and thus, employee retention is much higher.
I want to make it clear that I’m not saying that there’s no place for masculine qualities. A women can be feminine and still be competitive, direct and assertive. My point is that we shouldn’t change who we are in order to be taken seriously and climb that corporate ladder. As with anything worthy in life, it’s not an easy feat, but we can already see the difference. We are being respected in the boardroom whilst wearing stiletto heels, dresses, big hair, bright lipstick and being expressive in lieu of sombre suits, tight ponytails and displaying no emotions.
Our biggest strengths lie in bringing empathy, warmth, compassion and collaboration into the workplace.
The next generation has some great role models to look up to with the likes of Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post. She is a big believer in her and her employees having a balanced life. She encourages employees to take time off to focus on personal relationships and relax as to avoid burnout. Another great role-model is Sara Blakely, founder of SPANX. She believes in thinking differently and through that approached women’s underwear from a female perspective and it paid off massively. There are many more to name, but certainly not enough…yet.
In the meantime, here’s some tips on how to be the best power woman you can be and perhaps become a role-model yourself:
Be a collaborator, not a micro manager
No-one likes being micro-managed, it makes people feel useless. Instead, use your collaborative and nurturing instincts to guide and collaborate. It’s the ultimate way of teaching and you’ll be surprised at the potential you can unearth this way.
Don’t drop hints or assume people know what you want from them. It breeds contempt. Be open and clear of what your expectations are. People respect this and it’s easier to achieve goals when everyone is on the same page.
Be assertive, not aggressive
Ask for what you need and want in an open and clear manner without belittling others. Keep a conversational tone and a positive attitude while keeping eye contact. No need to raise your voice.
When I entered the workforce, I was told that you must leave your personal issues at the door when you get to work. That’s a ridiculous statement when I think about it. It’s impossible to do. Whatever happens in your personal life will have an impact on your mood, attitude, demeanour and your state of mind.
Know enough about your team’s lives and their personalities so that you can pick-up when they’re having an off day and be aware of it. Sometimes all they need is someone to listen to them. Understanding and being empathetic will earn you respect and loyalty because you’re acting like a human being.