So you’ve decided to become a feminine leader? Fantastic! Welcome to the club! Inspired by the Ten Commandments, I have created Ten Commandments for a Feminine Leader (no that doesn’t mean you have to be a woman to live by them – feminine leadership is a way, a style of leading, not a gender).
The feminine leadership journey for me has been a learning one, twisting and ducking and weaving all over the place. Sure I try to keep these “commandments” or guidelines in mind, but I can’t say I am perfect all the time.
What these guidelines have done for me over time however is help shape my career, business and personal brand as a leader. I hope they give you some food for thought and action too!
1. Thou Shalt Not Fritter Time
Why wait to start achieving your goals? You won’t be where you are right now forever. As a leader or emerging leader you have an invaluable voice and perspective your company, community, family or the world needs. How are you currently using your time? Are you focused, on course, awake and living in the moment? Are you moving towards your goals and plans and regularly achieving milestones? Are you allowing distractions, interruptions and bright shiny objects to take you off course? Be mindful with your time, it’s a sacred resource that cannot be replenished.
2. Thou Shalt Work Harder On Yourself Than You Do On Your Job
Working harder on yourself than your job is the golden key to growth and success. Strange but true and your boss will thank you for it! Working harder on yourself may come in the form of traditional study such as degrees, courses and training, however some of the most powerful learning I have had has come from working with a coach or mentor who helps me see my strengths, the opportunities for change and provided the guidance and support to help me through the challenges. Get to know who you are, spend time in solitude and get comfortable with improving this asset of self.
3. Thou Shalt Not Speak With Forked Tongue
Though it may feel satisfying, popular and gratifying to hunt with the pack and spread rumour and gossip about others in your workplace, community or circle of friends, this strategy is the quickest way to destroy your chances of becoming a true feminine leader. Instead of bitching, vilifying and pointing fingers, we must learn to understand others, to see them for who and what they are and to understand that many people are operating from a place of fear. The dreaded tall poppy syndrome is alive and kicking, and it is cruel and unfair. Inequality affects everyone negatively, even those who seemingly have the upper hand. Don’t be an instigator or a perpetuator, encourage others to consider the impact such poisonous gossip and language and keep your negative personal opinions about others to yourself.
4. Thou Shalt Not Shy Away From Problems
Problems can be gifts. They can bring us possibilities we hadn’t yet thought of. Problems can help us grow and can lead to bigger and better things. Start seeing every problem as an opportunity to create something better and you will learn to tackle them head on. A person yelling at you might feel like a problem but to a feminine leader it provides an opportunity for greater insight into how that person is thinking and whether they have any blind spots themselves. Hearing them out could build understanding, promote communication and allow the relationship to mature to a deeper level. The wisdom and self-awareness you gain from such an interaction can make you a leader worth becoming.
5. Thou Shalt Speak Up
It is not enough to simply want to be a feminine leader and to idealise it in your own mind. You have to verbalise it and share your beliefs, goals and ideas with others. Chances are many of your colleagues and friends share the same hopes and dreams and were afraid to speak their truth. By verbalizing and speaking up about principles and actions you believe in you are not claiming to be a leader through title, power or position, you become a leader through your ‘being’ and sharing. “People don’t buy what you do. They buy ‘why’ you do it.” Simon Sinek. Share your why, it is a privilege and obligation of a leader, to start conversations.
6. Thou Shalt Have A Funny Bone
Just like Benjamin Zander’s famous ‘Rule #6: Don’t take yourself too seriously”, this sixth commandment is all about having a sense of humor. People, followers, friends and influencers will all be much more receptive to what you have to say if you can grow a healthy, hearty funny bone. Instead of arguing, lecturing and demanding others attention, say something light hearted, witty and engaging to get them listening and learning from you. As a future leaders and tomorrow’s face of corporates and society, you must not only know our message but also know how to share – the more humourous, the more palatable and memorable it will be.
7. Thou Shalt Have Courage
Speaking up for what you believe in, being creative and questioning the status quo is never easy. Standing up for yourself and for others can also be difficult and unpopular. But it is a leader’s responsibility to do just that. A leader takes care in their decisions, reasons and choices. They ask themselves does no one suffer from the choices I make and actions I take? Do those I serve and who follow grow as people for working with me? Do they become freer, more autonomous and more likely to step into leadership roles themselves? Is there a better way to do what we have been doing and what will I need to let go of to allow it? Having courage and standing up will open up for you a world of empowerment that will serve you for your entire career and life.
8. Thou Shalt Never Stray Too Far
It is hard to stay on track every inch of the way. If you could then you wouldn’t be human. No one has ever been on a diet and never broken it by eating something taboo. No one is always perfect in what they say, think and do, however the more constant you are in your convictions, the more impact you will have as a leader. Being a leader is a 24/7 practice, once you have committed you should never stray too far. It is a disservice to yourself and others to be inconsistent in your vision and beliefs. If you send out mixed signals people will find it hard to join and follow you. No one follows their path 100% of the time but the more you think like a CEO, keep your eye on the prize and stay true to your purpose, the closer you’ll getting stuff done, faster, with more support and with less fuss.
9. Thou Shalt Be Caring
Although as they say ‘business is business’ there is no need to be a professional who only engages with head and not with heart. Caring for persons, your team, competitors and customers is the rock upon which a good business is built. If a better society or business is to be built, one that is more just and more loving, one that provides greater creative opportunity for its people, then the most open course is to raise both the capacity to serve and the capacity and will to care about others. As a feminine leader you have a unique opportunity to show that a blend of head and heart can manifest amazing results, not to mention the loyalty, happiness and commitment of people.
10. Thou Shalt Wear Gorgeous Shoes
Okay, so this one is a little tongue in cheek but give me a minute and I will explain. Whether it is gorgeous shoes, a designer bag or eating chocolate or ice cream, it is critical to do whatever makes you smile regularly. Maintaining equilibrium for leaders is critical to staying ahead of the game and may manifest in different ways for different people. For me it is owning and wearing fabulous shoes, I invite you to insert your own term in this commandment as follows: Thou shalt read trashy magazines, go dancing with friends, chair dance to loud music in the car, buy beautiful stationery, get a good haircut, ‘Thou shalt [whatever]’ because you’re worth it!
Coach, author, speaker, teacher and entrepreneur, Heidi Alexandra Pollard, The Communicators’ Coach publishes Value Ad, a free monthly ezine for smart, savvy professionals who want more prosperity, passion and purpose in life. If you’re ready to jump start your success, make more money and have more fun doing it then get your FREE tips now at http://www.leadingvalue.net