What Is Leadership?

Leadership is the art of influencing others towards achieving a goal. I have spent several years coaching, teaching, and consulting practicing and aspirational leaders. It never fails to surprise me how many women I meet don’t think they have what it takes to be a great leader.

Upon inquiring why they have these beliefs, it often comes down to their perception of what they believe a leader is. At the root of this problem is that the ideals of successful leadership are associated with masculine qualities such as dominance, competitiveness, authority, task focus, aggression, and punishment. Yet this leadership style is fast becoming outdated, and the feminine leadership style is better suited to today’s innovative organization.

Why Is the Feminine Style of Leadership Better For Employee Performance?

Although the masculine authoritative style of leadership may have been effective thirty years ago, when organizations relied on bureaucratic structures, the employment relationship has since changed. Employees today are searching for companies they can build relationships with over the long term. Employees want management to see them as partners rather than subordinates.


Leadership Performance

Performance isn’t just about getting an employee to do what they are told and put in the hours. Performance is about tapping into the enthusiasm and motivations of employees. You will know yourself coercive tactics may get to behave, but if a manager wants your absolute best, they will most likely get this from you through a collaborative approach.

Employees want meaningful work and to see how they are contributing to the bigger picture. They don’t want to be a cog in the system; they want to help run it. In addition, organizations are driven by demand, not supply, equating to a heavier reliance on innovation and solving problems at the source.

Why Is the Feminine Style of Leadership Better For Employee Performance?

Feminine leadership styles lean towards being more democratic, facilitative, cooperative, and participatory, whereas the masculine style takes a command and control style focusing on tasks and direction.

A feminine approach encompasses a cooperative style, which takes time but leaves time to evolve more sustainable results as employees identify with their work and find higher satisfaction levels. In contrast, the masculine transactional leadership approach provides incentives for succeeding and penalties for failing. Of course, either gender can utilize these leader styles.

What Makes A Good Leader?

Take a look at the following definitions of leadership. Notice the emphasis on the transformational qualities which are required of leaders today.

  • Leadership is not about your power; it is about empowering others to feel their power and supporting them to be their best.
  • Leadership is about having a strategy and vision; it is about getting people on board and committed to your plan, gaining their trust, and building connection and team spirit between team members.
  • Leadership is about taking your team through change and growth and empowering them to help them grow.
  • Leadership is about using constructive conflict to bring about innovation and change.
  • Leadership is about organizing and delegating jobs so others feel ownership and accountability for their work.
  • Leadership is about boosting morale, motivating others, and developing talent to help the company.

How Do You Score?

Many women are already leaders; they just don’t call it leadership. As we have highlighted above, leadership is about empowering others. It is about standing alongside rather than standing over another. Women do this every day in their parenting, family care, communities, and work but we don’t call it leadership.

Reflect on the list below and consider how your home, family, work, and community require these skills.

  • Getting people to buy into ideas
  • Gaining trust and building connections
  • Building team spirit and boosting morale
  • Supporting people through change and adversity
  • Being resilient when things get tough
  • Organizing jobs
  • Giving responsibility to others
  • Teaching others to do something well
  • Showing others the way and giving advice
  • Solving problems
  • Motivating others
  • Planning and achieving goals
  • Developing talents
  • Monitoring progress

Did You Notice Many Of Your Qualities?

Leadership is much about your qualities, not just functional skills. If you are interested in becoming a leader or developing your leadership career, sign up to our site. She Can Leadership will send you monthly articles to inspire you on your leadership journey and provide you with useful tips and advice to getting on and climbing the leadership ladder.