Bring Feminine Energy to the Boardroom

Employee EngagementAs we enter 2017, my focus is to inspire women leaders to bring more feminine energy into the Boardroom. Firstly let me explain what I mean by feminine energy.

Working as an executive coach for 10 plus years now, I’ve come to realise that women leaders have specific inherent traits that are much more abundant than in men.

These traits or ‘energies’ include:

  • Collaboration
  • Intuition
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • ‘Journey Orientation’

Many of our boardrooms today, have a predominance of men. The latest FTSE 100 statistics show less than 10% of the executive population are women. Men bring a different energy to the boardroom. Broadly speaking their qualities typically are focused on:

  • Control
  • Competition
  • Power
  • Drive
  • Results orientation

The research has sown that when there is equality of male and female leaders, there is a corresponding effect of increased bottom line performance. (See McKinsey’s ‘Women Matters and Catalyst’s ‘Women on Boards’ reports).

This it not about hitting the numbers to achieve equality. It’s far more about enabling women to bring their wonderful female energies to the table.

Let me share more about these qualities and how they show up:

  1. Collaboration

Women are natural collaborators. Women want to find ways to work with their peers. Relationships are at the very heart of the way women want to do business. Relationships have to be meaningful and work both ways. Trust is key. Women want to invest the time and energy in building relationships, in finding ways to provide mutual support and have others they can confide in. It can often take time to build that trust. Women inherently know that working collaboratively will reap far greater results in the longer term.

2. Intuition

Many women leaders I work with have a strong intuition. Whey they have the courage to tune into their intuition they ALWAYS make much better decisions. Our decision making processes are typically based upon the use of logic, analysis and rational – the more masculine traits.

Yet women have this inner nagging sense that they should take a particular route. They intuitively ‘know’ when a pathway is right or wrong. It’s hard to defend an intuitive decision in the boardroom, which is why women don’t often display it.

3. Emotional Intelligence or EQ

The third feminine energy is that of Emotional Intelligence. EQ is the ability to read and manage other people’s emotions and ours. Women leaders have a natural empathy and also a stronger compassion than their male counterparts. There’s a desire to help, to work through conflict in an adult-to-adult way, to be in tune with how others are feeling. There’s an instinct about whether a peer is showing up fully in the room or holding themselves back.

Women can often get frustrated on how decisions made in the boardroom will affect people – whether that’s teams, customers or suppliers. It’s our emotions that drive our behaviours. Bringing greater emotional language to the boardroom is also another key trait women can bring.

4. ‘Journey’ Orientation.

This final feminine energy is focused on how many women leaders search for meaning in their work and in their lives. It’s the journey and the exploration that brings so much fulfilment rather than the achievement of the result itself. Learning and discovering one’s potential, seeing the strengths in an organisation, the opportunities and possibilities and the ability to clear a path through the fog are more traits that women leaders bring.

There’s an interesting exercise I do with my clients. It’s called Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations. What’s fascinating is how difficult every female client finds completing the activity. The extrinsic motivations include factors such as title, brand, money and rewards. Women are far more comfortable with understanding their intrinsic drivers such as integrity, trust, variety, challenge, etc.

Not only will greater female representation in the boardroom drive stronger bottom line performance but it will also create a new way of working. The excessive long working hours culture, burnout and breakdowns are a result of the predominance of masculine energy. We need women to have the courage, the confidence and the skills to bring forth their femininity before it’s too late!

If you’d like to find out about getting yourself a coach during 2017, please get in touch to arrange a complimentary coaching call. We’d love to help. Email jo@handbagsintheboardroom.com

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