I have seen the feminine way in action. It's powerful. It's empowered. It's compassionate and clear-eyed. It's full of conviction. It is inclusive of "the other". It has a soul and a mind of its own. It suffers no fools. It's successful.
And we don't do it. Why?
Complex topic, right? It includes the personal reasons, and the collective reasons. Into this complexity I offer these stumbling blocks as an answer to that question:
It will sound incredibly weird to say this, but we women have actually been masculinized in our mentality. We hold to these socially masculine ideas: Go for the goal! Never quit! Hold yourself to an unreasonable standard! Be prettier, sexier, more appealing! We adjust our self-judgment and our actions to these so-called "norms".
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But what about our ideas? What ideas of our own - of who we can be when we walk in our power - can we cling to?
Difficult, isn't it, to try to come up with a few answers! It's difficult because we are at a new place in our collective history. We are standing with our naked toes just at the very edge of new waters, and the challenge is in our hands: What kind of new conveyance will we build?
Let me take a moment here to mention something about Star Trek. What? Yes, Star Trek: The Next Generation. Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Captain of the Enterprise, brought what is actually a feminine style of leadership to the table. Literally. In scene after scene, we see the Captain calling his top people to a table meeting to share their thoughts and feelings, as well as their collected facts. Only after measuring all of those elements did he make a decision.
This is a feminine style of leadership: inclusive, emotional, factual, communicative, community-based.
Some will see it as ironic that it is a man who first embodied that kind of leadership style on television, and they won't be wrong. But we all have feminine and masculine qualities, and the reason that women in leadership is so indescribably important at this time in history is that we all have favored the masculine to the near-extinction of the feminine.
Think I'm exaggerating? Think back a few moments to when you found it difficult to define what it means to walk in a more feminine-based kind of power!
Our strengths have been made into punch-lines. Our abillity to feel and express have been labeled weaknesses, and our strong beautiful bodies turned into receptacles rather than the temples they are. Our moral compasses of inclusivity, community and communication have been negatively labeled, and the masculine compasses of goal-reaching, determination and aggression have had countless "hero" movies made about them.
No wonder we don't quite know how to be leaders. We haven't created it yet, though we are certainly in that process.
And as we define, let us reclaim the power in elements of feminine power that have been denigrated to death; most specifically: emotion.
Mining and utilizing the power in emotion - its revelatory qualities, its depths, and its ability to be used as a connective powerhouse in communication (around which I created Emotional Linguistics™) - is critical to our redefining our world.
It is time for women leaders to lead the shift. A leader, a man who is incredibly balanced masculine and feminine qualities, is Bernie Sanders. Inclusive, compassionate, strong, determined, goal-oriented and process-oriented.
It is time for us as women to create a new mode of leadership. And we are most definitely up to the challenge.
Talent Optimization Specialist, Speaker, Consultant, Writer and Advocate for the Redefined Self-Image and Impact of Leadership, Women Leaders and Leadership Teams, Lori is the author of Call Center Crazy and The Human Solution: Human Solutions to Every "Unsolvable" Business Problem,
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Do you like the idea of breaking those social "should's" that have held you back for too long? Do you like the idea of successfully changing your modes of communication, your business structures, your self-image, and to your quality of life?
Lori Kirstein, Founder
The Goodbye Good Girl™ Project LLC
The Feminine Face of Business
Cincinnati, OH 45205
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