Leadership is often associated with words like dominance, assertiveness and strength. They are also words that are associated with masculine behaviour. There are even researches and papers done on this topic however what we don’t hear often enough is how essential feminine traits are in leadership roles. This is not to determine whether being a man or a woman makes a more effective leader but I do think having feminine qualities is beneficial in leadership.
The best leaders, in my opinion, are the ones who look after their teams well, inspire them and bring out the best of everyone in the team. The good news is that gender plays no role in leadership effectiveness. Both men and women can exhibit masculine and feminine traits and behaviours. It’s all about practice, self-awareness and willingness to learn and improve.
With that in mind, I’d like to share with you five seemingly feminine leadership characteristics that help leaders become better liked, be more effective and build high performing teams.
There is a saying that kindness makes the world go around. I believe that being kind is important and is often understated. Kind leaders are the ones who will bring out the best in their team members, encourages collaboration, and achieve great results collectively.
Leaders are often told to be assertive and strong. However, being authentic and showing vulnerability is actually as important as being assertive, if not more. When leaders show their true values and fears, it’s humbling and others are able to relate to them more and understand them better.
Leading with empathy means putting yourself in the shoes of others and really understanding them. Empathy allows us to connect to others in a deeper and more meaningful level. Once we are connected, inspiring and influencing become easier. When we genuinely care and understand others, a trusting relationship is formed.
If anyone can explain the power and joy of being thankful, it is Oprah Winfrey. In this video, Oprah talked about how keeping a gratitude journal and writing down five things that she is grateful for every single day has helped her feel powerful and be appreciative about what she has. Oprah is without a doubt an inspiring leader, someone a lot of people admire and look up to. Some of the reasons are because she is grateful and emit positive vibes. As a result, others are naturally drawn to her and follow her lead.
Great leaders are those who are generous with their time, feedback, and advice to their team members. When the team is treated well, is encouraged often and every one of them feels they are being looked after, they will be motivated to achieve more and do better. After all, this is the essence of human nature.
Here is to inspiring leaders with feminine traits. May we know them, may we coach them and may we be them.