One could easily claim today that the “door is open” to women in business, and technically as well as legally speaking, that’s true. The seat at the table appears open to women but getting to that table and making room, typically feels like it is attached to resistance, pushing and tension.
After marriage and the birth of my two daughters, I spent about 15 years working to grow a corporate housing business in Montreal, and its Canadian franchise infrastructure. I went from a very feminine role in life to one where masculine energy is perceived as necessary for success. Until I hit my well-constructed wall 4 years ago, I had not understood that my source of frustration and disconnect was my strong inner duality. I realized that the source of my disconnect was that I lived two lives. One at home and one at work, yet the work persona was much more dominant. In fact, my masculine business persona had taken over completely and was causing an unconscious internal conflict that was purely exhausting. I know this is something a lot of other women in the business world experience daily, because it sneaks up secretly and pervasively with time and conditioning.
Even though the door to business is wide open for women, the truth is, the business world is patriarchal and masculine by essence, and that eventually creates a conflict for most high achiever women. Unfortunately, no one teaches women in business how to avoid this common and slow transformation! I want you to know that it is totally avoidable! Not only is it avoidable but Women embracing their feminine qualities to integrate in their business life are far more successful, powerful and influential! That is the secret to Feminine Intelligence. For decades, women, just like me, have felt the need to put on that “masculine mask” at work to progress forward. We adopt competitiveness and a more individualistic mindset and cast aside our natural collaborative and relationship-oriented characteristics.
Added to all of this effort and resistance to our natural feminine energy, women in the workplace commonly feel unheard, unworthy, and inadequate to match the patriarchal perception of performance and success. The truth is, we need to learn how to dance within between both feminine and masculine energy as well as honor our innate power. Women can gain the respect they seek in their world of business and personal lives by embracing and leveraging their authentic power.
Embracing a relationship-building mindset:
We naturally have a more inclusive and relationship-building mindset compared to a competitive and individualistic masculine mindset. In the past, the masculine competitiveness was the preferred leadership style, and ultimately how one “got ahead” in the business world. But there is a shift taking place. Collaborative and more personalized cultures are outperforming companies that are slow to adopt a more feminine leadership mindset. Fortune 500 companies with the most women leaders have 66% higher ROI than those with the least. Now is the time for women leaders who leverage their natural relationship-building and inclusive characteristics to build strong, effective and sustainable teams. Leading authentically for women is how to be heard, create results, and gain respect.
Show vulnerability to build authentic trust and respect:
Something very much lacking in the world of business, even amongst women, is trust and authentic respect for each other. It’s something female leaders can bring back and spread by embracing a vulnerable, heart based and conscious approach. In a masculine energy-focused environment, vulnerability is seen as a detriment and weakness to your personal success. It’s an asset we lose as women in business because we feel the need to smudge out our natural tendency. But this couldn’t be further from a detriment. Shamelessly showing vulnerability builds authentic trust with those around you. An ability to be authentic gains respect on a personal and professional level. Vulnerability is something that is necessary as the gap between personal and professional relationships at work continues to shorten. Women leaders who don’t push down and leverage their natural vulnerability are more trusted and respected.
Empathy is the #1 quality for effective Leadership Influence:
“Extensive research shows how women are better suited to this kind of leadership. They’re better than men at empathy – sensing the thoughts and feelings of others and responding in some appropriate way. They value reciprocal relationships more highly than men do.” http://fortune.com/2015/03/26/the-trait-that-makes-women-great-leaders/
Women have an edge here on Men in that empathy is one of their natural and intrinsic quality within their feminine spirit wheel. This character trait translates into a more personable approach, more relatable communication, a more successful way to influence overall. “Leaders must influence a wide range of groups over which they have no direct authority, while those groups typically command much power of their own through their access to information and their ability to communicate with practically anyone.”
Companies seek leaders with magnetic and authentic Influence that may not only bring cohesion to an internal culture, but foster better inter connective skills for ultimate relationships with customers. Empathy is necessary for authentic, real productive conversations that are based in listening to the customer’s need.
Too often in business, this empathetic communication style has not been encouraged by a patriarchal thought and system which emphasizes on removing personal emotion or not acknowledging others’ emotions. Re-adopting an empathetic communication style of leadership that includes validating feelings, allowing others to speak, asking questions about emotion, and always considering others’ emotions in your responses is way overdue. Women who are able to embrace empathy will build better relationships and gain respect, trust and influence from their circles.
Shifting back to what is natural for us can be difficult because it goes against who we feel we have to be to achieve success. The time for female leadership in business is now. Not only is it more effective for high level performing Women, but it brings so much more fulfillment. Join me every week with the Radiance Tribe to learn how to leverage your feminine intelligence to create success and happiness in your life.