Or They Should!
Think you have to be more like a man to win (and keep) your place at the table?
Not even a little. Too often, women are told they need to be more like a man to be successful. The common thinking is: “If men have most of the top roles, they must be doing something right, so why not get women to act like them?”
Perhaps the better question is, “Why can’t a man be more like a woman?”
According to the Harvard Business Review, research shows that the prevalence of male senior leaders is not a product of superior leadership talent in men.
The real problem is not a lack of competent females; it is too few obstacles for incompetent males.Harvard Business Review
However, studies that have looked at the traits associated with leadership success and gender indicate that gender differences in leadership talent are either nonexistent, or they actually favor women.
So, why not flip the conversation?
Instead of encouraging women to act like male leaders (and let’s face it, many of whom are not all that great), we should be asking men in power to adopt some of the more effective leadership behaviors more commonly found in women.
5 Super Powers of Successful Female Leaders
- We’re not afraid to ask for help. Women tend to be driven more by a desire to get a task done than to be the one to solve it, and are generally more willing to do whatever it takes to solve a problem. They are often more willing to let of owning the solution and willingly seek out assistance to meet a challenge and come up with and implement the best solutions. While this can lead women into more supportive roles, leaning into this particular superpower can be extremely effective in helping us to achieve our goals and lead successful businesses.
- We are excellent at building and leading teams. Women can make use of their intuitive natures to discern conflict within a team—and then seek to resolve that conflict—as well as follow their instincts to favor a team approach, rather than asking an individual to take on too large a challenge.
- We’re more willing to challenge the status quo. Women are more likely to think outside the box, look for new and innovative solutions, and question “the way things have always been done.” This leads to effective and innovative solutions to old problems and allows women to more quickly adapt to rapid changes in their chosen industry.
- We are very, very good at nurturing and fostering growth. This is often seen as a “soft skill,” but in a highly competitive job market, the ability to recognize talent and nurture growth in your teammates and employees puts you and your business far ahead of the game. It does not mean women do not hold others accountable, rather, it shifts accountability for success onto everyone’s shoulders. Making everyone’s success a joint responsibility increases loyalty, saves money in managing employee “churn,” and strengthens your bottom line.
- We are more persuasive than our male counterparts. We tend to listen more carefully to the needs and wants of our customers, which enables us to read situations accurately and take information in from all sides. Women appear to be (or are) more caring and interested in what the client really wants rather than simply looking for a sale. Women also tend to ask more than tell and are more willing to look for unique solutions to a client’s problem. This often results in greater sales and happier, more loyal customers.
- BONUS: When feeling the sting of rejection, women leaders learn from adversity and carry on with an “I’ll show you” attitude.
Thank goodness, right? If not, where would we be now?
What do you think are your success superpowers? Share away!