Have you ever wondered what men can learn from boundless women? Gender should never be a factor in the traits of a successful leader. Ideally, leadership qualities are determined by a person’s personality traits and strengths, whether male or female. In reality, however, when women take on leadership roles, they are often underappreciated and undervalued in comparison to their male colleagues.
Quick disclaimer before we proceed, elocuted by Inkaar actress, Chitrangda Singh: “Feminism is not about male bashing or anti-male, but about gender equality and a sense of equal opportunity!”
Don’t Lean in When You’ve Got Nothing to Lean in About
One of the reasons the world lacks great leaders is that leaders are mostly selected through interviews where opinions are swayed by charisma and confidence. Those who comfortably promote themselves, accept credit for team achievements, and act assertively (or even aggressively) are seen as accomplished and powerful.
Because, according to organizational psychologist Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, “men are typically more deceived about their talents than women are”, they are not shy about blowing their own trumpets. Thus, men are perceived and chosen as formidable leaders. No wonder writer Nell Scovell collaborated with Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, in 2013 to write a book that advocates that women “press ahead, project confidence, “sit at the table and physically lean in” to be heard in the workplace.
The only problem with that is that there has never been any link between the competence of candidates and their ability to lean in. Now is the time to ditch stereotype honchos and applaud authenticity. Rather screen applicants for their expertise, experience, and essential leadership skills such as acumen, humility, compassion, integrity, and a growth mindset.
Know Your Own Limitations
If social media and gender stereotypes are to be believed, women are a bundle of insecurities. While it’s true that one of many gender differences is the self-critical nature of women, it is more about self-awareness than self-flagellation.
There is a two-fold upside to this:
1. Great leaders have a healthy dose of humility. Instead of pretending to have all the answers and be masters of everything, they:
- Know their strengths and weaknesses
- Harness the aptitudes of everyone in their network
- Are approachable and receptive to new ideas
- Welcome and applaud the contributions of others.
2. Being aware of their limitations directs the effort women put into bridging the gap between where they are and where they would like to be. Because women are generally less overconfident than men, female leaders tend to work harder at increasing their ability and performance.
Motivate Through Transformation
Across all industries, change is unavoidable. Transformational leadership can help employees not only accept change but embrace it by cultivating a culture of accountability and autonomy.
Transformational leaders inspire higher levels of engagement, performance, and productivity by:
- Championing self-motivation and personal development
- Demonstrating integrity and urging the same of others
- Nurturing an ethical work environment based on unambiguous values, standards, and priorities.
- Fostering a company culture where employees move from self-interest to working towards a shared goal
- Promoting authenticity, collaboration, and frank communication
- Offering coaching and mentoring but encouraging professional independence in employees.
Academics have long established that women are more likely to lead and motivate others by the transformation of their attitudes and beliefs. Men would be better leaders if they too influenced people with meaning and purpose.
Put Your People Ahead of Yourself
More than anything else, great leaders have integrity. Part of being a leader with integrity is putting your ego aside and valuing individuals and your team above tasks and results.
Women are less inclined to seek out leadership roles purely because they want the status of a corner office, impressive title, or larger paycheck.
“When we embrace the power of our feminine skills, we are redefining leadership where feminine is as strong and powerful as the masculine.” -Birute Regine, EdD, Founder of Iron Butterfly Power Circles
Would you like to put what men can learn from boundless women into practice at work? Our self-paced online leadership training program provides a step-by-step process to develop your leadership skills. Contact Corporate Class Inc. for more information.