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Boosting Female Leadership

The pandemic has opened up the world to a lot of opportunities. Today’s workplace is no longer the traditional office space; a desk and hawk-eyed supervisor. Instead, you can actually work from your bedroom, a remote vacation island, and still deliver quality.

In this article, we discuss amplifying female leadership in the workplace. What does it mean? Why do we need to? And what does female leadership bring to the table that is lacking in masculine leadership? And does amplifying female leadership mean the demotion of male leadership? 

To advance in your career, you will need a supportive network to point you on the right path. The article discusses the role of mentors, coaches, and sponsors that will guide you, cheer you on and call you out when you stray. 

Boost Female Leadership Qualities

Our disruptive world has been dominated by masculine leadership qualities for far too long. It’s time we balanced that with some female leadership qualities. In an episode of Humanizing the Workplace, host Vivian Acquah (Inclusive Workplace Wellness Advocate) was joined by four guests with whom they co-authored a book: Ready For Female Leadership.

  • Mary Jane Roy is an advisor, facilitator, and presenter building healthy stress, resilience, skills, and strategies for employee staying power. 
  • Dick Ruger is a coach and trusted advisor for leaders, executives, partners & teams in search of growth and connection.
  • Beatrice Blondiau is using sophrology techniques to help employees reach balance in life, become more courageous, and create supportive work environments.
  • Tessa van Keeken specializes in building bridges and holding space, helping those who support others to face their challenges, so they feel calm and fulfilled.

Why People Need to be Ready for Female Leadership

Female leadership is poised for takeoff because when you see what’s happening in corporate life today, we need more balance. Male leadership dominance has brought us to where we are today; now, we need serious changes, and we can do that by integrating female leadership qualities.

In additionthere has been a considerable shortage of human skills in our male-dominated workplaces. With the connectivity that technology has brought, it has become more evident that there’s just too much pain in the workplace. 

People have only been paying lip service to topics like unconscious bias, yet they need to do more to eradicate it. We need more feminine leadership qualities in the workplace. We need to become gender inclusive.

This can be accomplished by having more women in the workplace.  Another great way to achieve female leadership is by encouraging men to develop and express these so-needed qualities. 

Regardless of our gender, we all have masculine and feminine qualities and energies. It’s strange we would even have to question being ready for female leadership. 

However, finding that balance can be challenging because, for a long time, masculine qualities have been seen as a must-have while feminine qualities were viewed as sometimes ‘nice to have’. The belief has been that it’s the masculine qualities that will lead to better careers, more money, and all other desired things in the workplace. Somehow these identified feminine leadership qualities as irrelevant for everyone. 

We are used to seeing and living under a specific masculine leadership type. In the world, we are facing this huge challenge – sustainability. We also have young people dealing with mental health challenges. It’s a big issue that keeps growing and mainly touches the younger generation. These are two main issues we need to tackle, and the kind of leadership we’ve been used to hasn’t addressed these adequately. We must reshape and rebalance with more feminine attributes.

Ingredients that Attributes to Female Leadership

These are the feminine leadership qualities or traits that are highly valued in the workforce. 

  • Active listening
  • Tolerability
  • Empathy
  • Compassion
  • Vulnerability 
  • Authenticity
  • Sustainability

Does Amplifying Female Leadership Mean Deactivating Male Leadership?

Women not only need to step up and bring their feminine attributes to leadership but also bring their masculine energy. Men, too, need to search deeper to bring out and trust in their feminine attributes. To achieve decisive leadership in today’s world, we need to be gender inclusive in all areas.

“I also have a last note of warning [to women]; don’t forget to apply the other male qualities as well. These are important to create and lead a sustainable human organization as well as the female traits.” Dick Rüger

Authenticity & Self-Awareness 

“It’s our responsibility to embrace this uniqueness for the good of the world. It requires strength, courage, perseverance, and a large piece of self-love to facing our authenticity.” Béatrice Blondiau 

In order to advance our careers and to really develop ourselves further. It’s about knowing yourself and knowing the steps toward self-awareness.

“Be true to yourself. If you want to become a female leader of the future, stop and ask yourself this question on a regular basis. What do I need?” Mary Jane Roy

Women don’t need to question themselves more. So, it’s really about taking care of number one. Self-awareness is about being number one and ensuring that you place your own needs at the top of your priority. It’s not that you’re selfish. It means if you don’t take care of yourself, how can you possibly take care of anyone else around you?

“So, each moment, you are truly present here and now. With the full acceptance of yourself and what is you allow yourself to be your true self, and the ancestor of your future True Self, contributing to a more authentic world” Tessa van Keeken  

Networking

It’s essential to have a supportive network. In a supportive network, you are challenged to look at the little things you can’t or might not want to see. It’s there you will also discover your value. With a bit of time, a supportive network will always bring you success.

Find the supportive network you need. A network where you not only feel safe and validated but also a network where you can voice your opinions and share your insights. 

Sporting activities organized outside the work environment are a great place to start building your network. It always helps to choose a network of people with whom you share certain affinities. You will be more inclined to listen to some critics in such networks since you share a common background.

Workplace Mentorship

When somebody joins a company or has an interview, the question often being asked is; where do you see yourself over five years? Of course, this question gives the chills to a lot of people. But another question that is not being asked is; How can I support you to achieve this? What do you need from us as an organization? What do you need from me as your manager? What do you need to at least ignite that goal?

Every person needs to know if there is a mentorship program within their workplace. If not, look outside of your workplace to see where there is such a program. Mentorship is a valuable key for you to sit in the front of the bus and take ownership of your career. 

Mentoring forces you to think a lot about yourself when you get questions from the audience. It also forces you to think about what could be different. Hencemake sure you boost your career through mentoring. Find an ideal mentor or mentee who can help you with amplifying your career. Vivian Acquah

Mental Health & Code-Switching

Mental health problems can manifest as high levels of stress, anxiety, and general sadness. Organizations and companies have a significant role in ensuring the mental well-being of their workers. 

As a leader in an organization, it is essential to look at your employees’ root causes of mental problems. For example, it could be a toxic culture within the organization. Additionally, the organization should organize webinars and workshops to address the mental well-being of the employees.

When faced with a workplace where you cannot be yourself, please write down your values, and match them with your team’s values. Then, match them with the organization’s values. Think hard about it. Is this the right thing? Is this the right company? If not, you have to question what you are doing here. We live in a day and age where there are so many opportunities and so many companies to choose from. Prioritize your mental well-being.

Code-switching is trying to fit in and becoming one of them instead of portraying your true self. Adapting to a culture in which you clearly don’t fit in is extremely energy-draining. This can lead to rampant mental and emotional health problems in the workplace.

Empathy

There are different tools that people can use to unlock empathy. Think about the impact someone experiences going to work and having to daily deal with microaggressions. Think what it would be like to walk in the shoes of someone who belongs to an underrepresented group. 

We don’t know what we don’t know, but we can try to guess how the other feels. Better yet, what is you asked with an open mind to better understand what it means to be ‘othered’, what it feels like to be overlooked, or what it feels to be excluded? It would help with conversations that allow you to do a deep dive when it comes to DEI.

The Bottom Line

Amplifying female leadership and the associated qualities needs to be integrated to balance the male-dominated workplaces. Feminine leadership brings attributes like empathy, tolerability, compassion, and authenticity, often lacking in the masculine environment. However, this does not mean demoting male leadership. Instead, the two genders need to work hand in hand, collaboratively, to achieve powerful leadership. It’s called gender-inclusive leadership.

Female leadership qualities are needed to have more diversity and inclusion. Ultimately, research has shown that performance in society, organizations, and teams increases when diversity and inclusion are being amplified. For this, psycho-social safety is needed.

In a working environment, you need to embrace your authentic self, be self-aware, and set your values. Mentorship and networking are some of the tools that will open the gates to a brighter career path. Seek out supportive networks where you can speak your mind, share your insights and be safe.

Above all, guard your mental health. Avoid a toxic work environment.

“Do things that make your heart sing,” Mary Jane Roy.

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Invest in amplifying female leadership by buying the book Ready For Female Leadership. When you purchase the book, please know you support women’s (leadership) development in the Netherlands (NL) and in 14 other countries. 

You are also supporting the promotion of respect and understanding among genders. All proceeds, after costs, in the first year of the book’s publication are being donated to the Dutch chapter of  Feminenza, an ANBI status foundation in NL since 2001.

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