Feminine Leadership

Lead Like a Leading Woman

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"I don't think I'm displaying leadership. I just think I'm displaying humanity," said Jacinda Ardern, PM, NZ, in the wake of terror attacks against Muslims in NZ.

Which begs the question, why is this so unusual that we take notice? Why don’t more leaders display humanity?

My heart goes out to those affected by this tragedy.

My admiration goes out to a leader not afraid to show compassion.

READ MORE - SMH article in the link https://lnkd.in/fVQwip3

Credit: SMH article World's tallest building lit up with image of Jacinda Ardern, by Joel MacManus Photo taken by Wellington photographer Hagen Hopkin

Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #feminineambitionrocks 

 
Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

This is the game

“It’s okay for some, but my situation is different“
"I can't do this right now because I’m waiting for the right time“
“I’m not as good as some of the clients you are used to working with.”
This_Is_The_Game_AmandaBlesing_best_career_coach.jpg

I get these comments every day ...

And I love them.

They help me see that what I do is important!

It's easy to feel like you’re not good enough, don’t compare, or need to do more work.

We tend to push back because we’re scared that we may fail.

I know this, because I’m the same.

I'm a solo fempreneur.

I’m pushing myself every day.

Everything is new and I’m frequently flying by the seat of my pants!

And I underestimate myself, just like everyone else.

I regularly blog and share meaningful content, because I’m in the business of helping people.

And sometimes I simply don’t want to share because I’m worried about getting it wrong.

But I have to remember, I can help more women in their leadership journey when I get out of my own way and publish.

So, next time you use an excuse like “I’ll just wait til I feel better prepared” or “I’ll put my hand up for this big opportunity when I feel ready” remember

Playing small, doesn’t serve anyone, least of all yourself.

And for anyone who does take a big step up despite fear of failure?

Congratulations! You’re awesome!

This is the game.

 

 

Reposted from LinkedIn. Why not connect with me there as well?
 

Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #feminineambition

#success #career #executivebranding #personalbrand #standout #leadership  #executivewomen #careerfutureproofing

AmandaBlesing_LinkedIn_Profile.png
Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

More Powerful Advice for Women Leading

Every few months I call out to my #feminineambition network for wisdom and advice for women and leadership. In case you missed it, here's the last one.

This month we learn from eight leading women in both Australia and overseas who are already doing it - tackling big juicy leadership problems with feminine leadership principles front of mind. Strategy, unpacking big business goals, managing staff, stakeholder relations and personal reflection are all under the microscope. Take what you need! And thanks so much to those who contributed.

 "Make sure everything you do plays to your vision (leaders should of course have articulated a vision for themselves). Another tip is to value and unpack those events or conversations that leave you feeling uncomfortable - they are your greatest learning opportunities as you hone your leadership skills." - Jocelyn Furlan, Principal, Furlan Consulting
“One of my biggest learnings in gaining respect in a boardroom dominated by men is to pick the right time to speak, make it powerful, focus on the big picture basing the comments on facts not emotions” -  Fiona Evans, Vice President, Customer Service, DHL
"When I think about how to tackle a business issue, or strive for growth through aspirational goals, I always start with the end in mind. Take the goal, target or outcome - then understand if we did nothing new what would the BAU performance be. This then identifies the true 'gap', target or goal! From there build an operational plan that addresses the 'gap'. Key success metrics, creation of executive and team member dashboards to allow regular communication of progress, provides run-way correction and initiatives as need to achieve your outcomes!"   - Deborah Harrigan, COO, Sales, Innovation, Technology and CX Consultant
“Take care of your team and your team will take care of you. Be interested in what they do outside of work and truly listen to them. You’ll be amazed at how much they’ll appreciate you for it. One of the biggest things I’ve seen time and time again is the amazing depth of knowledge that front line staff have of your business. Do the walk! Go out and meet the workforce. Ask them what their pain points are and how they think a process can be improved. You’ll be shocked at how much you’ll learn. Lastly, encourage failure. I know this sounds counter intuitive but from failure we learn. I like to meet with my team every week and ask them what they failed doing followed by what they learned from it. Being ok with failing in the workplace frees up anxiety and is quite liberating.” - Jo Zimpel PhD BI, Analytics and Strategy, Founder & Head Data Geek, DataNotes
"Always remember the value you bring to a relationship whether it is in a colleague, direct report, family or friend relationship. Once you appreciate this value, use it to reinforce your confidence and self-belief and encourage others to do the same."  - Jane Pires, Executive Manager - Group Customer Relations, Suncorp
"Change is a constant and inevitable. Your ability to manage change is a necessity." - Carla Wall, Managing Director, COINS Australia
"My approach is simple and well-tested: Build great relationships and establish clear goals. The positive relationships can be leveraged to collaborate and achieve your mission. As a leader, it's key to identify strong players, communicate well and keep those players engaged until you cross the finish line." - Shelley Elkins, Director, Customer Contact at CREDO Mobile
"Learn that the most challenging role in leadership can be working with the people not the projects.  Lead by example always and treat your people with respect - treat them how you like to be treated. Take time to get to know them but always remember that you are the final decision maker and need to be accountable and responsible for outcome. Everyone can teach you something new - give them the time to contribute their ideas." - Janita Friend, Managing Director and Owner, Best Friend PR and Marketing

Thanks for sharing everyone!

My mission in life is to help women to play a much bigger game – change the world if you will – and do so with big ideas, big vision and big, audacious bucket loads of confidence.

Vive la révolution!

#ambitionrevolution #feminineambition #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes


If you enjoyed this article why not share? Let's spread the word to help smart 'n savvy women and men everywhere.
 

Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

When feminine leadership super powers become a poisoned chalice

You might remember Heather Sarson's research into collaboration and gender where she coined the phrase 'co-author penalty'. Heather is a Ph.D. candidate at Harvard, and looked at CVs from economists who went up for tenure between 1975 and 2014 in one of the top 30 PhD-granting universities in the United States. She found a bias toward men in instances where men and women co-authored research papers, and found that co-authoring with men had a sting in the tail for women.

Poison

Well I think I've found another issue - the 'collaborative problem solving poisoned chalice phenomenon'.

Where you're rewarded for tackling projects that other people don't prefer ..... not with a promotion, but with more projects that people don't prefer. 

Let me explain.

  • You know when you've asked, negotiated and lobbied for a raise or promotion so many times, even you're sick of hearing about it?  
  • Finally your manager indicates that he/she will be willing to consider your request but only after you've untangled an extremely complex problem. In fact, this problem is so complex it could either way - a career maker or breaker, depending on the outcome.
  • So you accept the challenge, focus intensively (because it's the right thing to do AND you do love a good collaborative problem solving challenge) - then put your nose to the grindstone while you tackle the project.
  • Finally - despite this problem being one that many others have tried to solve (and failed), you not only prevail but you excel.  Woot!


So you go to your boss with your glowing report card, only to be told that:

  • Someone else got the role you really wanted while you were so focused, and
  • Not only can the organisation no longer afford to give you that raise, but ... wait for it ....
  • They have another equally complex problem for you to tackle next!!!

Sound familiar?   Sadly I hear this story frequently as organisations struggle to understand, value and reward feminine leadership talent in their leadership talent pipeline.

The problems?

  • Collaborative, complex problem solving is a unique (and feminine) expertise - but is not (yet) seen as a trait of great leadership
  • When work becomes "feminised" it's devalued - in fact salaries drop
  • For you the individual - accepting that challenge without ensuring your leadership goals remain front and centre, visible to both yourself and your leadership team, is a risk
  • For the organisation -  because complex problem solving is not rewarded in leadership development it's possibly yet another reason why talented women are still leaning out after just a few years in an organisation.
TimeOut


What can you do?

  • Great results don't tell the whole story - great results might speak for themselves but they don't tell others that you have leadership goals or ambitions. Work is not school - you can't rely on results to get you ahead.
  • Always keep your eye on the prize - don't become so focused that you lose sight of your ultimate goal even for a moment.
  • Always be visible - maintain your visibility in the leadership talent pipeline despite being sidelined to do other work. Just likeClippy who used to pop up on your computer all the time, you want to do the same. Keep networking, keep catching up with other leaders in the business, keep pitching your great ideas up the business.
  • Always be leaderly - keep your future leadership personal brand front and centre in all interactions - try not to become branded as The Fixer.
  • Mitigate risk - is there a way of involving someone else such as HR in that conditional raise/promotion discussion?
  • Don't wear yourself out - so often we throw ourselves into our work so much that we wear ourselves out and lose momentum.  Find your tipping point and stay well below it for the duration.
  • Flick the switch from proving your worth, to knowing your worth - and head on in and start negotiating for a role and/or raise that you do prefer.
Femininity is the operating system of twenty-first century progress. Women—and the men who can think like them—are creating a future we’ll all want to inhabit
— John Gezerma

And if it has happened to you, do chat with me. I'd not only love to hear your story, but let's create a strategy to get you out of yet another drawn out, tangled black hole of a complex problem with no light at the end of the tunnel.

Vive la révolution!
#ambitionrevolution #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #feminineambition

If you enjoyed this please spread the word!  Let's inspire women everywhere to keep their eye on the prize.

 

Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

Letting Go of the Need to be in Control

Feminine leadership is defined as the leadership style of the 21st Century by some. So what is it, where can I get some and can you remind me why I need it again?

Femininity is the operating system of twenty-first century progress. Women—and the men who can think like them—are creating a future we’ll all want to inhabit.
— John Gezerma, Athena Doctrine

Why?  Because we live in a world that is increasingly global, interconnected, social, transparent and interdependent. This new world needs long term solutions, collaborative strategies and joined up thinking.  These traits are more than a simple preference. In fact it would appear they are more in the needs/must category.  So the traits/skills/characteristics that operate well in this new joined up global economy include:

  • Listening,
  • Communicating,
  • Collaborating,
  • Adapting,
  • Promoting a positive culture where purpose and profits co-exist,
  • Inclusive decision-making and
  • Nurturing of relationships.
KidsLeading

I get excited about this and reflect on the leadership style of most of the wonderful leaders I know.  Because I suspect (perhaps naively) that this style is the preferred (if not yet default) leadership style for both men and women. It's in our nature to want to connect with others, to live harmoniously and happily and support others in their journey from good to great.

Masculine leadership

Masculine leadership (not necessarily only the domain of men) is defined as something that's a top down hierarchical leadership structure, with the boss knowing where the organisation is going and everyone else following - playing their part , just like cogs in a machine. In fact our military forces work this way, police departments and judicial systems, academia, governments and many large corporates are structured around this leadership model. Sometimes even a masculine leadership model is more adversarial in style, which in turn promotes competition, silos and isolation.

Binary model

I acknowledge that this is a binary model. There are many ways to lead and linking leadership styles to gender stereotypes is a narrow way of thinking and continues to reinforce and perpetuate stereotypes. The differences between the way men and other men think or lead, and the differences between the way women and other women think or lead, are probably equally as great if not greater than the differences between the way men and women lead.

But I suspect it helps us to reflect on other options when we acknowledge that another way might just work.  It helps us to step into the realm of leadership more naturally when we understand that there is more than one style in which to do it.  Just as we now understand with the help of Susan Cain and Quiet, that introverts make great leaders too, it also helps those who are less adversarial and more inclusive in style, to see that in fact we might be ideal leadership material as well.

Letting go of ....... and feminine leadership

If you've seen the Ambition Revolution value model and heard me speak, you may remember that I talk about letting go.  In order to lead effectively there are a bunch of things you can/need to let go of. In fact to embracing and embodying confidence around your ability to Step Up, Speak Out and Take Charge ironically requires letting go of:

Where do you see yourself? And where do you need to let go?

  • the need to do it all (from Operator to Dreamer)
  • the need for approval or to be liked (Dreamer to Schemer)
  • the need to do things perfectly (Schemer)
  • the need to know everything (Achiever)
  • the need to be right (Go Getter)
  • the need to be in control (Revolutionary)

Not surprisingly yet somewhat counter-intuitively,  letting go of the need to be in control is required of successful leaders - although it's a far more common trait in feminine leadership. Remember the inclusive, collaborative characteristics where people are valued and relationships are nurtured?  Yep, that's right - this is part and parcel of a feminine leadership style - including letting go of the need to be in control.

Because there are so few role models of leaders doing this well it's still challenging to understand. Our default mode and "ideal" will likely be the masculine leadership model that we see reinforced in the media, on television, in the movies and in baby boomer businessmen who still dominate our boardrooms around the globe. (Self disclosure - I too am a Boomer - but have hopefully seen another way).

Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.
— Sarah Blakely, Spanx

Feminine leadership makes leadership more accessible and desirable

Identifying leaders who operate this way so that you can learn from them is important.  You can read last month's blog on finding female leader role models.

Reading aboutalternative models of leadership might also help you see that it's quite within your grasp to lead - where previously you had considered your style might not be strong enough, or direct enough.

So as you do the work in preparing yourself for you next jaunt or dabble into leadership (whether that's people leadership, project leadership or thought leadership) don't forget to consider how else you might get best results.  Leadership doesn't always mean leading front the top or the front. It can also mean leading from within and encouraging others to embrace personal leadership.

Vive la révolution!

#ambitionrevolution

#LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #feminineambition

#CreateaCareerThatCounts #makeabiggerdifference

 

AmandaBlesing
  •  I am the creator of The Ambition Revolution – the science and art of amping smart and savvy.
  • I mentor busy professionals to ensure they remain strategic, agile and focused on the bigger game.
  • I also work with organisations who are trying to increase the profile of women in leadership, but struggling to do so

 

 

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Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

Feminine Leadership Traits - the way of the 21st Century

We’ve all seen plenty of articles about what it is that women do wrong.  Sad to say, I’ve certainly contributed my fair share in that space . Why? Because they get higher read rates from both men and women alike. Case in point, I’ve been publishing almost weekly for one year, and the three articles that have been most popular (and I don’t just mean by a few hundred views, I’m referring to 1000’s of views)?

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(Hint: don’t click on the links if you don’t want to perpetuate the cycle!)

The fact remains that when there is gender diversity in the leadership team – organisations have a better track record of achieving great results including increased productivity, increased profitability, better risk mitigation, higher staff engagement and higher customer satisfaction ratings amongst other things.   

In fact, if there were an “app for that”, it would be an absolute sell out!

The reality however is somewhat more challenging as organisations and governments struggle to meet gender diversity targets, with women hitting up against road blocks, brick walls and glass ceilings of bias, discrimination and resistance to change.

“I haven’t found myself constrained by the male models of leadership because I haven’t found them particularly inspiring, so why copy something you didn’t like?” Ann Sherry, 2015 AFR & Westpac Woman of Influence

Our business culture is pretty saturated with images of masculine leadership as the ideal – strong, decisive, direct and to the point.  Female leaders as role models are still pretty few and far between in business and politics the world over and frequently stereotypes one or two characterestics such as "grace and poise". I'm pretty confident that while grace and poise are wonderful things, feminine leadership is made up of much, much more. 

Additionally there is a tendency for us to fall back on all or nothing thinking - so if one woman makes a mistake, gets something wrong or even behaves less than leaderly - it becomes a transgression for all women, judged by both men and women everywhere.  

So what exactly is it that women bring to the table that appears to add such great value? What do women do right – not wrong?  What are these characteristics/traits/values? And are they limited to only women?   We’re pretty focused on “fixing the problem” but the reality is perhaps these characteristics should instead be highly sought after by both men and women.

The Athena Doctrine - by John Gerzema & Michael D’Antonio explores a bunch of characteristics that are traditionally seen as the domain of the feminine, are great for solving problems in business, and are also seen by younger generations of future leaders as highly desirable.

“Femininity is the operating system of twenty-first century progress. Women—and the men who can think like them—are creating a future we’ll all want to inhabit” John Gezerma

Why? Because we live in a world that is increasingly global, interconnected, social, transparent and interdependent. This new world needs long term solutions, collaborative strategies and joined up thinking.  These traits are more than a simple preference. In fact it would appear they are more in the needs/must category.  So the traits/skills/characteristics that operate well in this new joined up global economy include:

  • Listening
  • Communicating
  • Collaborating
  • Adapting
  • Promoting a positive culture where purpose and profits co-exist
  • Inclusive decision-making and
  • Nurturing of relationships.

As you can see, anyone can do these things - men and women alike. They are not gender specific but more traditionally aligned with the feminine. There is an interesting interview with Janet Crawford on Forbes that highlights feminine leadership traits and how they contribute to great leadership and innovation if you want to know more.

So what can you do?

Do you remember in a recent article on negotiation and bias, we learned that when women are told that good negotiators require listening, communication and emotional intelligence, they outperformed the men in negotiating in mixed pairs?

So maybe if we remind ourselves that the traits and skills that women use more naturally are highly desirable as leadership traits, we'll be more likely to want to put our hand up to lead, to lean in and to ride out the initial discomfort and resistance to change from others.

Feminine leadership traits are alive and well and should be encouraged rather than torn down, allowed to flourish rather than trying produce little “mini me’s”, and also allowed to be diverse rather than limited to simply grace and poise under pressure.

So next time you read articles about what women do wrong, remind yourself again of what exactly is it that women do right – and that it’s not just great for women, but great for business and community too.  

Your thoughts?  Comments below.

If you like this article, please pay it forward by sharing it with your network by clicking the little sharing icon below.

 


  •  I am the creator of The Ambition Revolution – the science and  art of amping smart and savvy. 
  • I mentor busy professionals to ensure they remain strategic, agile and focused on the bigger game. 

  • I also work with organisations who are trying to increase the profile of women in leadership, but struggling to do so

Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months