When it comes to leading others, many will agree that women are often at a disadvantage and have more barriers to overcome in their leadership positions or on their path to the top than their male counterparts. Few people, however, really understand why.
Like it or not, we humans are members of the Animal World and still motivated at our deepest level by the very same instincts that drive and influence our animal cousins.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not that the world is intentionally prejudiced against women leaders. It would not make logical sense for women are every bit as smart as men. No, I believe the resistance to accepting women as leaders has more to do with deeply rooted human instinct and that the solution to overcoming the barriers to women in leadership lies not in railing against injustices, but in understanding these invisible instinctive barriers and knowing how to maneuver around and through them.
Like it or not, we humans are members of the Animal World and still motivated at our deepest level by the very same instincts that drive and influence our animal cousins. We instinctively feel fear, jealousy, are motivated by survival and self-interest and the need for group harmony through good management. In Nature, males traditionally occupy the leader positions because of their physical size, strength and ability to defend the group. Females of the species are generally not in leadership positions simply because they are not as big and not as physically strong, though they do have their own spheres of respected influence within the group.
Female animal leaders do not try to act “male.” They don’t demonstrably throw their weight around or challenge competitors to proverbial duals. Instead, they rely on what I call “quiet power.”
Understand that this primal trust in male leadership is at the root of resistance to women in those positions and that instinct often prevails over intellect. Instead of getting angry at the barriers to your leadership or advancement, learn how the smartest females in the Animal World manage to lead, nonetheless.
Female animal leaders do not try to act “male.” They don’t demonstrably throw their weight around or challenge competitors to proverbial duals. Instead, they rely on what I call “quiet power.” They don’t lose their temper or raise their voice. They are, however, clear in their expectations of others and follow-through on those expectations without apology. Most importantly, they remain fair, friendly and easy to get along with throughout the management process.
Are you struggling to be taken seriously in your management or leadership position – at home or at work? Do your kids disrespect you? Does your staff ignore your deadlines? Are you being passed over for promotion because of your department’s lack-luster performance under your management? if you’re not careful, you could play into the myth that females can’t lead! Become more effective, Nature’s way, and lead like a lioness!
- Be clear about what you expect
- Lay out clearly the benefits for complying and the consequences for not
- Follow-through consistently, yet resisting to give in to anger or emotion
- Praise where praise is due but consequence when necessary without delay
- Reestablish expectations
- Develop and maintain good relations with your own superior
Follow these simple guidelines, as they are Nature’s proven path to leadership success. Your children can become more compliant and less combative. Your staff at work can finally start taking you seriously taking your direction. When you believe your performance is worthy of a raise or promotion at work and you respectfully ask your superior for it, you will be more likely to get it.
This is how to rise and shine as a leader, with Mother Nature as your best career coach!