It’s time for a revolution.
One with women in charge.
One with a new definition of confidence.
One where our emotional intelligence is valued and leadership skills are perceived in a different way.
We can read a lot about women in leadership roles today. Magazines and websites are filled with stories about why women make good leaders but we aren’t populating the C-suite with the frequency we should.
We lack confidence, we’re told.
The confidence to demand the roles of director or CEO.
The confidence to command the salary.
Or maybe we aren’t looking in the right place. Around the globe, women are presidents and prime ministers in 19 countries, yet they’re CEOs of only 4.6 per cent of Fortune 500 companies.
And maybe we aren’t asking the right questions about confidence. Women typically don’t self-identify as “confident” like men do.
It’s a different kind of confidence
In fact, we possess natural leadership skills, a trait we’ve seen throughout the centuries in the family dynamic. We run the family household and often we support family businesses (hey, you have an Etsy shop? Yes, I’m looking at you, Ms. Leader.)
Glenn Llopis, the Opportunity Expert (and a dude!), champions women as leaders because of that historical narrative.
Whether at home or at work, women are often the glue that keeps things together and that is why they represent great leadership for America’s future.
Women, he writes, are the ones to secure foundational roots of the family and protect family and cultural traditions from wavering.
And yet we’re often told we can’t handle the job because we’re too emotional. A number of my clients have pushed aside their soft skills because they don’t want to be perceived as weak or ineffective.
One was even asked if it was her “time of the month” if she got “worked up” about something in the workplace.
[tweetthis hidden_hashtags=”#girlpower”]Our emotions can drive us to the top of the food chain in the corporate world.[/tweetthis]
1. More nurturing
We are more interested in seeing everyone succeed. A 2014 Zenger Folkman survey showed most employees perceive female leaders as excelling at nurturing competencies such as developing others, inspiring and motivating others, relationship building, collaboration and teamwork.
2. Good listeners
It plays into the nurturing skill, but an ability to listen allows us to pay more attention to detail. We’re especially in tune to discord among our teams, which makes us more willing to engage and assist instead of telling everyone to “get over it” and “figure your stuff out.”
3. Better team builders
We like to surround ourselves by people who complement our skills. You can look at the bridge of a ship and determine who the captain is, but that’s just a small part of the trip. Women are more successful at identifying the people who will help achieve the business goals and empowering their skills.
We don’t have to be right all the time. We like to learn from others and ensure we improve upon the mistakes we’ve made in the past. Because women are usually less competitive in the workplace, we aren’t hesitant to ask questions, an action that can be perceived as a weakness among men.
You can’t be a leader without having an entrepreneurial spirit. You have to manage people, hit targets, be independently driven. In Canada, 98 per cent of the economy is made up by small and medium-sized businesses, and women start two-thirds of those businesses.
Build yourself up
Danae Ringelmann, co-founder and CDO of Indiegogo, says we have to be who we are and own it.
“Being a leader is actually about being completely fine with who you are and speaking from that place, giving feedback, sharing opinions from that place. That’s why people follow you.”
That means being your authentic self.
When we rise to the challenge and let our natural instincts shine through, we become the Leadership Lioness.
Because the culture around how we measure success is changing. Leaders are no longer being judged on the bottom line alone.
Talented employees want a nurturing workspace, one that allows for flexible work schedules, corporate wellness and balance.
We aren’t working in factories, punching a time card. We’re looking for inclusivity and cultures that support us in our lifestyle as well as work.
Who better to understand that than women?