The following is adapted from F*ck the Glass Ceiling: Start at the Top (and Stay There) as a Feminine Entrepreneur.
Have you ever heard someone say “you throw like a girl”? Chances are, it wasn’t a compliment. (Having played softball, though, I know how girls throw, and trust me—you wouldn’t want to get nailed by a 90 mile-an-hour underhanded fast-ball. It would leave you black and blue for a week.)
For too long, “like a girl” has been used as a way of saying “worse than a boy.” But just as men have a certain set of gender-based talents and natural strengths, so do women.
These differences are just that: differences. Men’s talents are not inherently better, or worse, than women’s.
In leadership in particular, there’s often emphasis on traditionally masculine traits: command, confidence, decisiveness, and the like. Yet many feminine traits are equally beneficial to leadership.
Based on my own observations and studying the subject of femininity, I’ve identified seven reasons you should want to lead “like a girl.” As a woman, these are the natural strengths in your arsenal that you should be leveraging as a leader.
As a woman, you can sense information (and energy) from multiple sources simultaneously, including from outside the room in which you’re sitting. In addition to having a sixth sense like any human, women are hardwired to take care of multiple children of different ages and abilities, while getting countless tasks accomplished. This translates to a certain degree of clairvoyance and/or clairsentience, which are huge boosts to business leadership.
#2: Complexity Management
You can easily see the complexity of an issue, perhaps faster than others, and without even giving it much thought. You instantly see what could go wrong, what could go right, who’s on board with a proposed action and who hates it, and all the possible steps to achieve the outcome. This ability to see, which I call “radar,” will be a huge asset to your team.
You can persuade people (in an informal, conversational way) of what’s most important to focus on and what they should all be doing. Women are adept at shooting down dumb ideas as effortlessly as a lit match turns a stack of papers into fire. Feminine leaders can also put very persistent earworms in people’s brains about what they’re capable of doing, which will stretch your team past their limits.
You can touch people’s hearts with a single statement or question because of the way you see things. As a feminine leader, the fact that you can see the soft underbelly of almost every human being’s ego will help you in creating a loving atmosphere in your company. This kind of loving atmosphere breeds a culture in which innovation and collaboration can take place.
#5: Holistic Viewpoint
You have an inclusive, holistic viewpoint, even if you don’t always act on it. You see the entire ecosystem and cannot compartmentalize, silo, or ignore it away. Even if you press on with a decision that seems insensitive to certain factors or people, you’re somehow able to take the holistic view into account more readily than most. This results in stabler employee morale over the long term.
#6: Family System Perspective
You innately know how to run a family system. A business is a family system because there are different ages, roles, abilities, hierarchies, formal and informal connections, outside obligations, internal needs, and emotional, intellectual, and physical (space) needs. You spend more time with coworkers than with families during waking hours, and women can roll with the close quarters quite easily.
You’re loyal, and it’s personal that you’re loyal. People say we shouldn’t make things personal, but when someone you care for at work needs help, you’ll always empower them. Women develop working friendships and alliances that are as strong as any military squadron. When we’re loyal to our team, and one of our coworkers gets hurt, we feel the hurt. When they win, we feel their win. This loyalty leads to a close-knit team.
Use Your Innate Strengths
Female leaders often feel as if they need to compete against men, on a masculine playing field. This is a losing strategy. The simple truth is that men will always be better at being men than women will be.
The opposite is true as well. Women will always be better at being women than men will be. As a woman, you have an entire arsenal of strengths at your disposal. By deploying your most innate strengths as your winning edge, you’ll sustain yourself beyond setbacks, periods where you lack motivation, and times when the other parts of your life require more attention than your business.
For more advice on your natural talents as a woman, you can find F*ck the Glass Ceiling on Amazon.
This guest post was authored by Mandy Cavanaugh
Mandy Cavanaugh’s passion for leadership, entrepreneurship, and helping people thrive has fueled her roles as CEO, consultant, and facilitator. Her businesses have spanned global lodging logistics, land development, manufacturing, corporate leadership seminars, and turnaround consulting. Mandy succeeds in highly competitive environments by connecting each of her team members to their best future self. She holds various coaching certifications and has conducted seminars on high performance, authentic success, conscious language, imagination activation, conflict resolution, corporate soul retrieval, CEO-ship for start-ups, sales, team building, and wealth wisdom for women.