Feminine leadership qualities that everyone can (and should!) utilize!

I loved this online artricle about how women approach leadership. Reminds me of one of my favorite books, What Southern Women Know that Every Woman Should  by Ronda Rich. This article was written by Selena Rezvani, and posted on Forbes.com (Business). Here are some highlights:

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Consider the attributes below and you’ll see how classically feminine management traits in fact translate to more employee loyalty and commitment, increased innovation, and better products and services.  You can call on these underestimated qualities often and tailor them as you make them your own:

  1. Identifying with the Other Side: Whether you’re trying to understand the customer, a peer or boss, leveraging empathy is supremely effective.  Rather than theorizing about root issues, when we truly empathize we assume nothing but what the other side communicates and shows us.  As Dr. Simone Ahuja, an innovation expert and co-author of the international bestseller Jugaad Innovation notes, “Women tend to have greater empathy than men, a key innovation competency in their approach to problem solving.  Empathy helps them to be truly user-centric and focused on whether there is a real value-add in the solutions they are providing – and to remove assumptions, an innovation killer.”
  2. “Asking for Directions”: Women know what they don’t know.  So says a study by Merrill Lynch that showed female financial analysts were less likely than men to buy a “trendy” or popular stock without first doing research.  Women’s ability to plan carefully was considered a key reason they outperformed men in the study.  Robert C. Doll, Jr., former chief investment officer of Merrill Lynch noted, “In gender terms, the survey found that a little self-knowledge can go a long way.  Women … aren’t afraid to ask for help, turning to professional financial advisors at a much greater rate than men.”  By not expecting ourselves to have all the expertise all the time, we can easily solicit input and nimbly resolve issues.
  3. Adopting a Democratic, Team-Centric Approach: A woman leader with a truly participative leadership style invites multiple viewpoints, even if it takes added effort to do so.  Underscoring this practice, a study at MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence showed that teams where team members share “airtime” equally showed higher group intelligence scores. Susan Rice, former CEO of Lloyds TSB Scotlandalso credited this skill as helping her, noting, “The people I work with will say that the process of my asking them questions helps them clarify their own thinking and they actually come out a little sharper. My job…is to set a clear strategy, ask the right questions, and encourage our managers to be the experts in their business.”
  4. Building an Infrastructure of Support: High performance teams consistently outperform the individuals that make up the group.  A woman can leverage this dynamic to assemble an organization-wide alliance that offers something more valuable than gold: resilience if she makes a misstep.  Said Jo Miller, CEO of Women’s Leadership Coaching, “Leaders who have built a broad coalition of input givers, devil’s advocates, and champions have exposed themselves to diverse perspectives and as a result, make better business decisions. A network of influential allies can also support bold performance by providing a safety net for risk-taking.”

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