Leadership is often associated with words like dominance, assertiveness, and strength, and those words in turn are associated with masculine behaviour. But a lot of research has been done on this topic and the good news is that gender plays no role in leadership effectiveness. The best leaders are the ones who look after their teams well, inspire them, and bring out the best in them. Traits like kindness, empathy, gratitude, and generosity are more feminine-coded but just as essential for leadership, and we don’t hear enough about them. These traits can be developed regardless of gender, too. It’s all about practice, self-awareness, and willingness to learn and improve.
Here are five feminine-coded characteristics that help leaders become well respected, more effective, and therefore, help them build high-performing teams.
There is a saying that kindness makes the world go around. I believe that being kind is important and is often understated. Kind leaders are the ones who will bring out the best in their team members, encourage collaboration, and achieve great results collectively.
Leaders are often told to be assertive and strong. However, being authentic and showing vulnerability is actually as important as being assertive, if not more. When leaders show their true values and fears, it’s humbling and others are able to relate to them more and understand them better.
Leading with empathy means putting yourself in the shoes of others and really understanding them. Empathy allows us to connect to others in a deeper and more meaningful level. Once we are connected to others, inspiring and influencing them becomes easier. When we genuinely care and understand others, a trusting relationship is formed.
If anyone can explain the power and joy of being thankful, it is Oprah Winfrey. In this video, Oprah talked about how keeping a gratitude journal and writing down five things that she is grateful for every single day has helped her feel powerful and be appreciative about what she has. Oprah is without a doubt an inspiring leader, someone a lot of people admire and look up to. Some of the reasons are because she is grateful and emits a positive vibe. As a result, others are naturally drawn to her and follow her lead.
Great leaders are those who are generous with their time, feedback, and advice to their team members. When the team is treated well, encouraged often, and every one of them feels they are being looked after, they will be motivated to achieve more and do better. After all, this is the essence of human nature.
Here is to inspiring leaders with feminine-coded traits! May we know them, may we coach them, and may we be them.