What women and the world’s greatest leaders have in common.
For decades, psychologists have been compiling a list. That list includes all the traits that the greatest leaders of all time have demonstrated—the traits that we still admire, respect and look for in our current leaders. That list is certainly not exhaustive, and it will always be a reference that evolves as we develop, professionally. However, one thing is for certain: the traits that our greatest leaders have displayed are, in large part, the same traits naturally demonstrated by the female brain.
So what does this tell us as female business owners, HR managers, entrepreneurs and job candidates? It says that we have far more to offer just by being ourselves, and operating in the ways that we’ve been pre-programmed, than the majority of current “leaders,” who often have to simulate these qualities.
Some argue that more and more women are assuming leadership roles because of “women’s lib,” or because they are “minorities.” To the contrary, astute business people are beginning to realise that women demonstrate the qualities that motivate and inspire others to be their best.
If you have EVER doubted your ability to lead, this should be all you need to push forward, knowing that you were born with many of the qualities that others struggle to develop.
Here is an abridged list of what you, an aspiring, developing or experienced female leader, already have to offer:
• The Power of Persuasion: Thanks to your innate ability to gauge a person’s reactions to what you say (tone, inflection, word choice, body language), you can adjust your responses and deliver exactly what he or she needs to hear at any given moment.
• A Giving Spirit: Because women are programmed for tasks like child-rearing, crowd control and food gathering, our brains are persistently focussed on the needs of others. Millions of years ago, this was necessary for family and tribe survival. Today, it not only fills your need to contribute, it creates a sense of reciprocity in those you lead.
• Remarkable Listening Skills: The part of the brain called the Heschl’s gyrus, the cortical hearing center of the brain, is larger and denser in women than in men. Plus, it has been shown than women listen with both sides of the brain, whilst men only utilise the left when listening.
• Productive Risk-Taking: Women are more likely to take risks than men are—but not because they are careless. The frontal gyri in a woman’s brain are more developed, meaning she can more accurately predict the outcome of any level risk.
• Openness to other Opinions: We’ve all heard the jokes about men not wanting to stop and ask for directions. They like to claim their own victories—do it themselves. To the contrary, women are more likely to delegate, ask for help…whatever it takes to get the bigger goals accomplished.
• Creative and Efficient Problem Solving: Tell a woman to solve a problem, and she may jump that hurdle; but she’s more likely to find an unconventional way under it or around it. Not only are our brains designed to find ways to accomplish many tasks in the smallest amount of time possible, we have been conditioned, in modern society, to create ways to “have it all”…and we’ve done a fine job of accomplishing that.
• Dynamic Communication Skills: This can be attributed to a high level of interconnectivity between both sides of the brain—the same reason we can simultaneously read a schematic, listen to a conversation and deliver a marketing strategy.
• Empathy: There’s nothing more discouraging for a team member than when he feels misunderstood; when he feels that his problems are being swept under the corporate rug, as if he doesn’t matter. Women have an innate ability to feel what others are feeling…and to communicate that empathy to others. When this level of emotional communication is achieved, minds and hearts are opened to new ideas and ways around problems.
• Flexibility: Generally, women do not subscribe to the “my way or the highway” mentality. We are peace-keepers. We want the higher good. We can see the big picture and change our own ways of thinking in order to achieve more for everyone. This is a product of our natural selflessness and our reliance on creativity.
• Responsiveness: There’s a reason the first battlefield nurses were women. Not only do we have the intrinsic ability to make quick decisions, we trust them and move forward with confidence. All leaders have to put out fires on a daily basis. The best ones are armed with their own inborn extinguishers.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list of all the qualities that female leaders possess. It is, however, a glimpse into the traits that will serve any leadership vocation naturally and with little effort.
Does this mean that men are not good leaders? Not at all. It simply means that women have an upper hand going in and staying in—an upper hand that many of us have been taught didn’t exist.
For the business, political and spiritual realms, this is terrific news. We all have a massive pool of leadership talent that has gone largely untapped.
And for you, a woman with so much to offer, it’s even better news. NOW is the time to develop what has been growing within you and take it to the world.
Are you hoping to start your own business or to grow an existing brand? Then I have just what you’ll need to put your innate leadership qualities to work so you can be the brand you wish to see in the world. Simply visit our website to learn about all the live events and opportunities How to Build a Brand has to offer, or contact us for more information.
Sammy Blindell is a brand psychologist specialising in brand strategy, design and communication. She uses her decades of experience in colour psychology, graphic design, marketing and online strategy to assist entrepreneurs in gaining industry authority and enhancing business performance, so they can attract the customers who will pay them to live the life they deserve.