I recently read an article on leadership traits women bring to the table–traits men can learn from. In a world where women are often busy emulating masculine traits to “get ahead,” it is refreshing to remind ourselves of the incredibly important feminine skills needed for success.
So what skills do you have, that you may not recognize as profoundly important in being a great leader? here are a few strengths you might already possess and not credit yourself with:
- Listening skills. The old paradigm of leadership was one of telling others what to do; or showing them how it’s done. Successful businesses, today, are more apt to solicit engagement and ownership of the company mission and priorities. This requires a leader willing to listen to other perspectives and solicit feedback.
- Understanding. Following right behind listening is the ability to understand how someone feels, where they are coming from (perspective), and what they are really saying. The ability to empathize with others, whether we agree with them or not, provides people a safe place to communicate which stimulates consensus, team work, motivation, and even creativity–all important to successful organizations.
- Multi-tasking. In his book, Women are from Venus; Men are from Mars, John Grey points to mens genetic disposition to stay on one task at a time; while women’s DNA enables them to harvest the crop, care for the children, and have food cooking simultaneously. That inate pre-disposition is extremely helpful when you are leading a group of people who all have different tasks or parts of the organization that you oversee.
- Recognizing contribution. Because women value contribution to the “tribe” over solo achievement, women as leaders also develop teams whose combination of contribution as a whole is larger than any one superstar. This creates sustainable growth and success as well as highly motivated teams.
- Asking for help. The stereo-type image of women being willing to ask for directions (while men will not) may or may not be true; however, a woman’s willingness to be vulnerable, ask for help, and seek information can lower business risk, increase cooperation, and ultimately result in greater gains.
What other feminine leadership skills can you think of?