I’ve been thinking a lot about feminine power lately and how, as leaders, we can allow this to shine through our work. When we think about feminine power, we are focusing in on the specific traits that women can easily and naturally connect to. And, in my experience, when we step into our feminine power we become far more authentic, impactful and aligned. All too often in the business world, we believe we have to act in a masculine way to get ahead. Quite frankly that’s exhausting and turns many women off from wanting to reach senior levels.
What’s the difference between Masculine and Feminine Power
Let’s start by understanding the difference between these two power states. Masculine power has historically driven business structures and performance. It brings fantastic qualities including focus, goal setting, challenge, result achievement, decisiveness. Feminine power on the other hand, is a softer flow, qualities such as compassion, warmth, empathy, connection, collaboration, creativity, meaning come to the fore.
This is not necessarily gender specific, i.e. men have masculine power and women have feminine power. We all have a blend of the two. But all too often, it’s that masculine power that reigns supreme in our working environment. And when you get energy that is out of balance, stress, unhappiness, low productivity and conflict begin to seep through. And when we are out of balance, then our sleep becomes affected, we start to feel out of sorts, physical symptoms such as headaches, colds, etc. start to manifest.
It’s not easy, at times, being a woman in a man’s world. Men inherently enjoy an intellectual spar, often discussing sport (enjoying that competitive energy they have in abundance) and banter. Now, don’t me wrong, I know many women leaders who also love sport and I know of men who can’t stand it! So this is not absolutes. We are talking about norms and the dynamics of conversations when things get out of balance.
When a female leader steps into the boardroom for her first directorship – especially if she is the first female – she often finds it tough to integrate. Her perspective is often fundamentally different from that of her colleagues. She wants to naturally engage, to listen, to explore perspective, to connect conversations. She’ll often bring a stronger emotional intelligence. And she’ll need to find a way into the conversation, to be heard, appreciated and valued. Bearing in mind that the predominant masculine energy is focused on sharing opinions and achieving a result. This can create conflict and women often choose a black or white route. I will sit back and wait to be asked or I will be forceful in expressing what is going on.
Quite frankly, I have little time for women who display tremendous masculine energy. At a meeting I attended this week, which was predominantly male, there was a female who behaved in such an aggressive way. Talking over others, leaning across the table, a loud domineering voice. Repeating her opinion over and over. Why I wondered to myself? Why do you have to be so dictatorial? We do not have to behave this way to get our point of view heard. I decided that I did not want to be in her gang.
Bringing our Feminine Power Through
How exactly do we bring our femininity more into the workplace? This is not about becoming ‘emotional’. I’ve worked with emotional women and they can drive me nuts.
Bringing feminine power into the room happens when we feel strong on the inside. A female who has strong self worth, belief and love for herself brings a wonderful energy and dynamic to the room. She is not worried about what others think, she gets out of her way, clears her mind of negative self-talk and seeks to bring her natural collaboration and connection to the room.
She empathises, draws out opinion, leads with courage and backbone. She is not afraid to say what she wants and knows the importance of being assertive and respectful of her peers.
Authentic feminine energy is tapping into our core values, of speaking up (and not waiting to be invited in), of listening and acting on our intuition and displaying emotional intelligence. This includes being in touch with our emotional radar, our own trigger points and reading the room.
This is the power that we need to bring more into the fore. When leaders display a wonderful blend of feminine and masculine power that’s when magic can happen. And if we can all find that happy balance within, then we truly will start to shift cultures and working environments that bring the best out in one another.
As women we must bring our natural feminine energy into the workplace. We must be brave and it all starts from within. From tuning into who we are, understanding our gifts, our talents, our uniqueness and completely believing in ourselves. This energy will empower and engage others – our peers, our teams, our stakeholders.
As Marianne Williamson said so beautifully:
“Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be.”