While traditional gender biases still put men in leadership roles and women in supportive roles, in today’s economic climate this concept is being turned upside down. Leadership roles throughout a company’s organizational structure – from executive to supervisors to team leaders – are benefiting greatly from the unique style women leaders bring to the table.
To demonstrate that women certainly have the skills needed for leadership positions, a survey conducted by Harvard Business Review ranked women significantly higher than men for 12 of the top 16 competencies in which leaders must excel. This was so, despite the preconceived notion that men would typically perform better.
The leadership qualities they ranked are:
- Takes Initiative
- Practices Self-development
- Displays High Integrity and Honesty
- Drives for Results
- Develops Others
- Inspires and Motivates Others
- Builds Relationships
- Collaboration and Teamwork
- Establishes Stretch Goals
- Champions Change
- Solves Problems and Analyzes Issues
- Communicates Powerfully and Clearly
- Connects the Group to the Outside World
- Technical or Professional Expertise
- Develops Strategic Perspective (This is the only one where men outscored women significantly.)
Do you notice that most of these skills are related to emotional intelligence? This means they encompass an ability to 1) identify and manage one’s own emotions, 2) identify and understand someone else’s emotions, and 3) relate well to others personally and professionally even under the most stressful situations. This requires that a person be self-aware, self-regulating and empathetic. These relationship-based skills are ones wherein women certainly excel.
Practicing embodied leadership accelerates the attainment of these qualities. Mindful awareness allows you to really feel and identify your emotions, so you can express them in a constructive way. A leader who embodies these qualities will manage stress and enhance the cooperative spirit of her team. She’s able to keep the lines of communication open as she soothes her own ruffled emotions and those of others. She’s able to “read” what the body language of others is telling her.
Emotional intelligence is twice as valuable as IQ in the business world, since the emotional health of the team directly impacts productivity, motivation, engagement and loyalty. An embodied leader who is emotionally intelligent will be able to:
- Restore calm out of chaos
- Express emotions not squelch them
- Have conversations not confrontations
- Diffuse tricky situations
- Negotiate calmly
- Listen without becoming defensive
- Benefit from criticism
- Keep a positive, resilient attitude despite setbacks
- Inspire respect and loyalty
- Build trust and rapport
- Be a self-starter who delights in accomplishment not position.
The best way to learn is by following the example of others. Would you like to read about women who have excelled in their leadership roles? I highly recommend the book, Leading Women: 20 Influential Women Share Their Secrets to Leadership, Business, and Life.
Even though women have these exemplary skills, they often do lack one thing that men, by nature, exude. They lack confidence in themselves and their abilities. Because women are often more concerned about keeping their home life together, or are afraid of being viewed as unfeminine and aggressive, or they’re reluctant to reach out because of discrimination, they aren’t using their skills to the full. If you’re ready to step out of your comfort zone so as to embrace a more fulfilling lifestyle, I would love to partner with you. Contact me and we can work together in Ashland, OR or via Skype.