All our lives (and for centuries) women have received the message that the qualities which make us feminine are not valued in leadership. “Feminine” qualities are creativity, influence, collaboration, cooperation, compassion, empathy, intuition, patience, vision, passion and “heart.”
We learned from an early age to hide many of these qualities. We learned to take on the qualities of the masculine leadership model accepted by society. The “masculine” qualities are “mind” over “heart,” command, assertiveness, action, direction and ambition, strength, competitiveness, independence, aggression, and process over vision.
We’d try our best to fit into that mold but we still didn’t fit the picture men (and many women) had of what leadership looks like. And, we were suppressing the whole of who we are as people, and the full range of gifts we have to share with the world.
All of these qualities are valuable and appropriate for different situations, and ALL people possess both masculine and feminine qualities to varying degrees.
What would the world be like if everyone could show their qualities and strengths freely and unapologetically?
From decades of studying and training leaders, I believe that the most effective leadership model is a marriage of masculine strengths ( “command”) and feminine strengths (“influence”). I coined the term Comfluential Leadership™ — command + influence — which allows ALL genders to bring their best strengths out to the world.
Comfluential Leadership™ empowers us to break through gender heritage, redefine what leadership is for us, and to lead more effectively. I teach Comfluential Leadership™ because I strongly believe this is a model we women must master in order to effect the change this world is calling for.
Tapping into her full range of abilities, a woman can truly change the world!
How to take the first step? Embrace your feminine qualities of leadership by recognizing that the masculine model doesn’t define you. It will take courage to step into your own model of leadership. But when you do, you will be fully expressing who you are and what you’re meant to bring to the world.
It’s so worth it, don’t you think?
About Your Columnist
Linda Patten is a featured columnist for Women Lead, the official blog of Connected Women of Influence where she examines the art of leadership. Linda Patten (MBA) is the founder of Dare2Lead with Linda, an international speaker and best-selling author, radio show host (now syndicated), leadership expert, mentor and trainer to professional associations, major organizations, business networking groups and the military. She is a gifted communicator, who spoke on SUE Talks: Connected Women of Influence.