The Woman’s Way to Success
Discovering the Power of Your Feminine Side
By Nancy Fredericks and Candy Deemer
Let’s begin with a word association game: When we say “Great Business Leader,” who comes to mind for you? Take a moment, and make a mental list of the first three or four names that pop into our head.
Now, look through your list for similarities.
Hmmmmm…could it be that the names on your list only belong to one gender? And chances are it’s not female!
Herein lies our dilemma as women in business: WE TEND TO MODEL OUR STYLE OF LEADERSHIP AFTER MEN. This is a completely natural reaction, since men still hold about 97% of the top positions in American companies. But if you happen to be female, fitting into the male model of leadership is the most unnatural course of action. It forces you to devalue—and even deny—the unique, feminine-based strengths and contributions that you bring to the masculine world of business. Yet this is precisely what millions of women have done, in unconsciously modeling themselves after the leadership skills of men.
These masculine leadership skills arise from patterns of thinking and behaving that originate in the logical world of the left-brain: skills like risk taking, analytical acuity, and long-term business planning. These certainly are mandatory assets for any leader, male or female. But our true power as women business leaders comes from our value added assets: feminine-based skills like intuition, communication, and relationship building.
We are not advocating that you abandon or even diminish the masculine-based leadership skills. Rather, we are suggesting that you make an active choice to honor both your left- and right-brain talents—to recognize them as separate-but-equal skill sets. In a male-dominant business world, this requires you to elevate your awareness and respect for your feminine-based talents.
One of the key differences between women and men in business is the way they communicate. Our advantage over men in this area is the result of both nature and nurture. Women actually have more fibers connecting the verbal and emotional areas of our brains than men do. And both sexes are marked with centuries of genetic imprinting. Competition (and the emotional “toughness” and hierarchical status system that result from it) remains a driving force for boys. Cooperation (and the system of nurturing and intimacy that is required for it) still dominates the play patterns and relationships of little girls.
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