Releasing our feminine, realising our potential
Research consistently shows that organisations with more women in leadership are likely to be higher quality places to work and with higher levels of performance. This holds true in society too – according to the World Economic Forum countries are more prosperous where they have greater female representation in parliament.
The movements at a micro – in-company – and macro societal level to boost female representation at senior levels and to create equality for all are right and proper in a world and at a time when humanity has made so many advances.
Yet there’s something wider to consider here…as people and as leaders we have access to all the resources we need to lead effectively within ourselves, irrespective of gender. Human beings are a fabulous cocktail of masculine and feminine energy and qualities – we can learn to access and use both.
Traditionally organisations/the world of work has prioritised the masculine with its drive, targets and achievement focus, its logical and planned approach to getting things done. Meanwhile, the qualities we ascribe to the feminine are often disparagingly described in organisations as ‘touch-feely’. This is doing a ridiculous and short-sighted disservice to the qualities that are even more important to our ability as leaders to achieve now and in the future.
Given the increasing complexity of the world we inhabit and the shifting sands of change that we are navigating greater sensing and intuition, greater relationship building and collaboration, more openness to exploring ideas, more acceptance of not knowing, more compassionate listening and acting, increased attunement to mood of self, others and the wider organisation, are essential.
These are all qualities of the feminine and serve to cultivate a space and environment in which engagement grows – despite the uncertainty caused by rapid and unpredictable change – and creativity flourishes as people feel supported to share their thinking and to experiment more, following the lead they see being lived.
Whoever we are, and whatever qualities have defined our leadership to date, we can all tap into and bring forward more of our feminine. Doing so will enable us, our people and our organisations to thrive and contribute fully to the greater good.