Four Skills that Smart Women Leaders Exhibit
In business, women often bring a different set of leadership traits to the table than their male counterparts. These are considered more ‘feminine’ traits, such as collaboration, empathy, patience, and humility. Not all women leaders possess these traits and some women actually possess more stereotypical ‘masculine’ traits, such as strength and competitiveness.
At present, research suggests that, in a work environment, employee engagement is a concern. One of the major reasons that employees are disengaged is because they have poor relationships with their bosses. Utilising the woman-side of leadership just might help to improve these relationships.
Here are four skills that smart leaders exhibit and can improve employee productivity and contentment in the workplace.
1. Model Mutual Respect with Employees
Women often enjoy connecting and sharing and they have the ability to build meaningful relationships with others. This is especially helpful when building a team culture with employees. Demonstrating an honest level of respect for those with whom you work can go a long way in making employees feel that they are a meaningful part of the workforce.
Smart female leaders are able to genuinely demonstrate the respect for others that they expect for themselves. This is a feminine trait that some men also exhibit, but in a work environment where collaboration is often required, being able to respect one another is essential.
2. Listen Well
We have two ears and one mouth for a reason. You should spend twice as much time listening as you do speaking. Women leaders can use their conversation skills to elicit from their employees what is on their minds. Women tend to be more discussion oriented; men more action oriented. Listening to concerns of the workforce allows leaders to make more informed decisions and allows employees to have their voices heard, and thus opportunities for innovation will not fall between the cracks.
3. Embrace Passion for Their Work
Often, women have a propensity to identify a passion and follow where it leads. If they are going to become heavily involved in a project, they want their energy spent on making a meaningful difference. Women are more likely to exhibit passion for their work, or a project, or a team activity. Embracing such a positive energy can inspire others.
4. Opportunity Driven
Looking for the opportunities available from a glass half full perspective is going to produce more positive choices. But, when considering opportunities, the masculine traits of competition and striving to win can be important in a cut-throat business environment and cannot be discounted. However, the feminine trait of building strong relationships and collaboration makes teams run smoothly, and provides a more comfortable work environment. Blending these ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ traits will create the best outcomes.
According to research, women seem to feel a need to prove themselves. Women often state: “In order to get the same recognition and rewards, I need to do twice as much, never make a mistake and constantly demonstrate my competence.” Yet, in a business environment, where the style of leadership is more transformational than transactional, the feminine skills that many women bring to the table are highly valuable to the company’s well-being.
Expanding the number of women in leadership roles can only help to meet the diverse needs of a diverse culture.