THE PROCESS SERIES :: WHY WOMEN MAKE GREAT LEADERS
Women are great leaders, even (and sometimes especially) classically introverted ones. Leadership in business has long been defined as a fast-talking extrovert with masculine quality who can stand up and command an audience, so I am asking that we take a look at "daily leadership". I believe that leadership begins when women are girls, and when nurtured, can produce some of the best conceptual thinking and thought economy on the planet.
Similarly, it's important to influence female consumers because women are always influencing someone else. Their business peers. Their children. Buying products for the men they love. Women do a much better job of staying in contact with friends near and far, and sharing with those friends the details that make their lives more comfortable.
Here's a TOP TEN that defines these points.
1. LEADERS DESIGN VALUE - Dynamic women bring value at home, in the workplace, and in their social settings. Typically, females in a group set the "value" for something and their community listens, because they have done the research, used the competitor, or spoken with a customer service department. In the workplace, we often mentor and lead younger or less experienced employees with a nurturing quality even if it isn't part of their job assignment (see point 10).
2. LEADERS DON'T FOCUS ON WHAT'S GOING RIGHT - Women are problem solvers. As nurtures and community leaders, we find a way to do it the best way, even when a system is failing. In our daily lives, we must constantly problem-solve. We are generally less bold in celebrating our achievements, and after a battle is won, it's nose to the grindstone to find the solution to the next problem.
3. LEADERS COMBINE ACTION + REFLECTION - Women naturally balance planning and action-taking, and this is critical. To spend all of one's work or daily time in either problem-solving mode, or planning mode is eventually ineffectual. The balance of creation, reflection, action, and the repetition of this cycle is the most productive action. This is also an incredibly useful skill from the perspective of female buyers, because we appreciate businesses who are reflective and action-oriented and we flock to these businesses with our spending power. The feminine tendency to admit to failures, mistakes, and missteps and working with the results of those mistakes to create success is a fantastic business tool, and an amazing way to build community.
4. LEADERS DON'T WORRY ABOUT BEING TOO THOROUGH - Great leaders know that the more one talks, the less people listen. Censorship of oneself, creating concise content, and listening as much as one speaks are critical leadership qualities. Women maybe be talkers, but as a group we are multi-taskers, constantly managing more than one thing at a time, so we have mastered the skill of diving deep "enough" and then utilizing the skill and mastery of others, and the input of our communities to create mastery for ourselves. Women, by nature, are good generalists. This applies in business, sharing content, leadership, and management tools, and particularly applies to consumerism, where women freely share information with each other, and trust each other's assessments much more than they trust data or advertising about the product.
5. LEADERS ARE CONSTANT STUDENTS OF LIFE - It's a commonly known fact in the world of education that if someone teaches something to another person, they will retain a majority of the content, but if they try to learn it themselves without teaching, they retain only something well under 50% of what they learn. Women are teachers, by nature. We are inherent learners and develop our sense of how effective something is by understanding the details of this nature. This also relates to simple (but high magnitude) consumerism. If we know the data on the best men's bath and body products, have the most information on the greatest women's natural skincare lines, have notes on the best value-oriented wine to pair with a weeknight dinner, we are empowered, we buy with confidence, and assuming we like the product we both repeat the purchasing loyalty and share the product with our tribes. Brands that offer this hand of education to women will find brand advocates in their audience.
6. LEADERS DON'T TRY TO BE SERIOUS ALL OF THE TIME - The best leaders I know are also the funniest. Leaders are more attractive across the board when they don't take themselves too seriously. Women are generally good at making themselves align with the needs of the people they are presenting or speaking to. We adapt to our audience, and in leadership or business situations, we're better about considering the need to "adjust" each presentation to the group as it is presented. This is also a valuable skill at the conference table and/or with a hard-hitting client - this sort of leader thinks on the fly, and can answer difficult questions quickly and confidently with a balance of data and self-deprecating humor, or can successfully move the data question to an answer that will be delivered later with charm and wit. Either way, the recipient of the information leaves satisfied.
7. LEADERS ARE PURPOSE DRIVEN AND SHARE WITH THEIR TRIBE - If you watch young girls play together, they are very collaborative and "tribe" oriented. Even at a very young age they develop a pecking order, appoint alphas, respect leadership, design overthrows, and reassess their priorities almost daily. Little female leaders feel out their own rise, and often speak up for their needs. They support each other when someone goes down. Their games are often imaginative and connected to a dynamic but linear story with a purpose and outcome. This applies to adult women in their communities or in the workplace seamlessly. We gather our people together, and those of us who are facilitators, good listeners, and have a solid rationale and great follow through, are the strongest business advocates, C-level executives, fundraisers, recruiters, and corporate diplomats. As the world changes, intellectual property and thought leadership are the most important qualities that any professional can have. Highest ranking thinkers are cutting-edge on an hourly basis.
8. LEADERS FOCUS ON THE OPENING AND THE CLOSING - Winston Churchill said, "To give a good talk, you need a dynamic opening, and a powerful closing". What is said in-between is certainly valuable, though not nearly as important as how the conversation begins and what the conclusion is. In business, a great female executive may use this theory to be concise, pragmatic, and hard-hitting in a very short presentation window during an executive meeting, or in a product pitch to a marketing team or an agency. Great leaders don't focus on content, they focus on content relevance. A woman who is shopping accepts this logic because it allows her to be thoughtful and to work quickly. Providing brief but impactful introduction to product and call to action in the sales space creates an intimate conversation with us and keeps your product elevated in our minds above similar product choices.
9. LEADERS KEEP TOPICS CLOSE TO THEIR AREAS OF BEST UNDERSTANDING/EXPERTISE - Women are naturally good at owning a space and sharing the floor. We desire collaboration over confrontation or domination, so letting other members of their circle lead in their own areas of talent or expertise is comfortable to them. We value leadership in others and are confident enough to share the floor.
10. LEADERS ARE APPROACHABLE - The elusive and unapproachable leader is a thing of the past. Great leaders want to make other people great. Confident women feel non-competitive. We ooze self-confidence and generously gift it to those around us. We make ourselves available after speaking engagements. We work with press. We are genuinely excited for the success of others. Women are fantastic at this because it's feminine to nuture, mother, caregive, to stick out a neck for someone or something we believe in. Down-to-earth, collaborative women are tomorrow's highest level educators and leaders. These women stay "hungry" for progress, new frontiers, joint success, and it's apparent and creates approachability.
Above all else, great leaders engender a sense of trust. Women in positions of leadership are both equal to the task, and also assigned a whole category of evolution and world change which is coming quickly. Female leaders have an opportunity to help the world re-define a leader as a position of cohesion and connection.