Not so long ago, leadership was something most people associated with men.
Nowadays, some of the best leaders on the planet are women. There’s still a lot of progress to be made where women in leadership roles are concerned, but one step forward is to look at how females tend to lead.
The following leadership lessons are ones that men can learn from their female counterparts. In doing so, they can become better leaders themselves and better appreciate what women can bring to the table.
1. Leadership is about contribution
Often, when men take on leadership roles, it’s a one-way street.
They lead and others follow. If their team members don’t like this equation, they’re left in the dust and most likely won’t be with the company for very long.
The problem with this approach is that:
- It doesn’t involve much in the way of investing in each individual member.
Everyone brings something different to the table, which means some members may be huge assets just waiting to be found.
When women lead, they are more likely to look upon their followers as individuals. They also cultivate each person so they’re better able to contribute.
2. Awards aren’t everything
One thing science has taught us is that men and women assess value differently:
- Men tend to look at things like awards, accomplishments, and titles for their own self-worth.
- Women are more likely to look at how their community and family value them: Are they contributing enough to others?
Sometimes, awards and recognition won’t show up for completing certain tasks or hitting a specific objective. When this occurs, male leaders may be at a loss for motivation.
Female leaders, though, will have no trouble moving forward, so long as they know their efforts are being helpful.
3. Leaders need balance
A lot of people have the image of a successful leader as someone who stays on target until the job is complete.
They are relentless, chasing down an objective until it finally surrenders. Until the work is done, many think a successful leader is the type who will forget sleep and all other types of comfort.
This may be true when looking at male leaders. Women, though, tend to have a much better work-life balance.
They may still work late but are more likely to appreciate when it’s time to leave the office and spend time with family, or even indulge in a relaxing activity.
- This approach is going to benefit your family life in a big way.
- It’s also how leaders can avoid burnout.
Spending time away from work helps to replenish your patience and self-discipline. It’s how great insights sometimes come about, too, as your mind is afforded the space it needs to consider other avenues as well.
4. Your image matters
It’s no secret that for much of human history, women were valued based solely on their looks.
This carried over to the office for decades. While most of us would like to think those days are largely behind us, many women still put a lot of work into their appearance before coming to work every morning.
Men would be wise to learn from this.
Whether it’s fair or not, presentation does matter. Successful leaders usually look the part. You can inspire a lot of loyalty and trust in your team members simply by dressing like you deserve both.
5. Never be afraid to ask for help
Everyone knows the old stereotype: men never stop to ask for directions.
Although it’s “cliché”, there seems to be some truth to that. Of the two, men are much more likely than women to keep working at something when they clearly need help.
Put a man in a leadership position and this problem is only compounded. With the “leader” label, many men feel as though the last thing they can do is ask others to help them.
Women, on the other hand, seem to have much less trouble with this problem, perhaps because this level of self-reliance is never expected of them.
It’s definitely to their advantage:
Whether it’s asking a question after a presentation or looking for a second opinion about a particular approach, setting their ego aside helps women get better results as leaders.
Don’t forget, too, that as a leader, you’re setting an example. If you’re showing your followers that asking for help is to be looked down upon, don’t expect them to seek help, either.
6. Network constantly
In today’s world of interconnectivity, you’d be making a huge mistake not to network constantly.
- Many men simply don’t do this very well. It may have to do with the above point about not wanting to ask for help.
- Whatever the reason, women have a much easier time leveraging social media to connect with others in their industry.
When you combine that with the fact that women have an easier time asking for help, you have the type of leader who quickly leverages their connections toward getting goals accomplished.
7. Think clearly about risk
The male brain is genetically predisposed to risky behavior.
Back in the early days of mankind, this structure may have been necessary to ensure men wouldn’t back down when confronting danger was the only way to cement survival.
Nowadays, though, there’s less need to take risks on a regular basis. That’s not to say there aren’t times when it makes sense. You won’t always have the benefit of a sure thing in the business world.
The structure of the female brain allows women a better chance of calculating when risks make sense and when they’re a little more than a strategy for some free endorphins.
Risks may be necessary, but it’s never a good idea to take them with little-to-no thought first.
Based on other factors we’ve covered, women are much better at not just thinking clearly about potential risks but also calling on the opinions of others before taking them.
Leadership is an essential characteristic for business success. But if men think they have nothing to learn from women in the field, they’re missing out on all kinds of great insights.
Play with these ideas and post below to let us know what you think.
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