Leadership is Feminine

For most women, when we are invited to study leadership the teachers, scholars, authorities, and models are primarily… men.

We are indoctrinated from the time we are born that men lead and that natural male characteristics are the strengths you must also possess to be a good leader.

Powerful.
Strong.
Authoritative.
Direct.
Assertive.
Decisive.

These and so many more are attributes that are typically associated with the male model of a leader.

And so, for the better part of the last one hundred years as women have made their way into the fold, in a variety of leadership roles, we have learned and studied to walk the way of men to achieve success.

But, what if we’ve had this all wrong. That’s not to disparage any of the progress that has come before us. Progress is progress. For those of us who stand in the footsteps of the women who came before us, we are here because of their courage, bravery, and resilience.

I wonder instead if women equally looked to the characteristics they learned from their mothers for leadership. I wonder if we were taught to lean on different qualities to drive success. I wonder what might happen then?

The traditional qualities of mothering are communication, nurturing, listening, strength, support, grace, and yes… love.

What if to be the best leader you can be as a woman, you integrated the best of both? As women, we can be assertive, direct, powerful, and authoritative but we need not only rely on those attributes for success.

After 25 years of watching and studying leaders, I can tell you that for sure many traditional male attributes are effective in the short run, but they typically only serve a few. Whereas, when leadership is feminine. When the leader possesses the strengths of femininity and grace the results are for all.

I’d like to gently request to my fellow female leaders that we reclaim the word ‘leadership’ as one that is a feminine definition. That we continue to work with all of our allies to build organizations and systems that include more support, collaboration, grace, and communication. And that we do so not because we are uncomfortable with the more traditional male-dominating models, but because we truly do know that leadership is a feminine strength and attribute.

And the world needs more of us leading. Now more than ever.

The Leadership is Feminine Podcast, season one, episode one is here. I would love for you to listen.

To read the show notes, including a full transcript of this episode, visit the podcast page.

Kris is THE thought leader & expert for leading & managing a high-performing team as a woman CEO.