love and leadershipJan 31, 2023
While love requires more feminine attributes, leadership, typically, involves masculine attributes. Women who are serving as leaders are trained to implement hardline strategies to ensure the growth and sustainability of the organizations we work for or that we own. We've been trained to be self-assured as leaders even when we may not be too sure, which challenges our natural, feminine tendency to be vulnerable. Vulnerability in life and in the workplace helps to establish trusting relationships that lead to increased connectedness; thus increased productivity. Another masculine practice that we employ, leading ladies, is aggressiveness. Keep in mind that I am not advocating that we become doormats but aggression is a natural repellant of collective team building and by-in. And again an opposing attribute to femininity in leadership. Feminine leadership beckons women to listen, support, and hold the space for growth and confidence building within our communities. We have learned that establishing and maintaining an authoritative disposition is how we gain respect and get others to perform. Yet, by nature, women are more collaborative and inclusive. We are nurturers of strengths and talents and they are extremely valuable to the bottom line.
So, as leading ladies how can we begin to find the balance between the feminine and the masculine, while continuing to meet milestones and consistent growth with our own personal development, within our families, and within our organizations?
I suggest that we establish "Love Spaces" for ourselves and those who rely on us. In order to be effective, love spaces must be designed with a level of practicality that is reflective of the society that we live in, which means that they must attend to both the personal and professional circumstances. These spaces will need to be designed to align with the culture of your organization but here are some initial attributes to consider as you plan your love spaces.
Honesty and Trust - reciprocating honesty and trust are essential components of love spaces. This space will need to allow critical listening to ensure that you gain a clear understanding of the circumstances. What is most important here is that occupants of this space can speak frankly. However, this space must provide time for you to build a level of honesty and trust, which means that you must speak honestly, even it is uncomfortable to you.
Empathetic - the ability to connect with the emotions and feelings of others is a natural feminine quality and becomes critical to the effectiveness of love spaces. It is important to establish appropriate emotional boundaries here. As a leading lady, your primary job here is to hold the space for genuine expression without judgment or criticism. See the circumstance from the standpoint of the deliverer and honor their feelings.
Support and Compassion - support and compassion will help to sustain the implementation of love spaces. You may not be able to bring solutions or eliminate the circumstances of others but your ear, time, and loving compassion can go a long way in helping. It is important that you hold your authentic space during this time to ensure that the love space is comfortable and that if in fact there is a solution available that it is one that is generated from need rather than expectation.
Solution Driven - love spaces should be designed with the intention to help find solutions but, again, this may not be possible. Don't feel pressured for solutions but if there is a solution, offer it. There is a key consideration for this element and that is that any solutions should be driven to empower and/or self-actualize. Love spaces are not intended to enable or reinforce co-dependency.
Absolute Confidentiality - love spaces must be confidential at all cost. If you have been able to identify a solution or resources, you must approach implementing these with as much obscurity as possible.
Feminine practices of leadership are becoming more accepted in the workplace; however, we have much ground to cover. What we do as leading ladies will help to drive the normalizing of feminine leadership practices. Leadership is love and learning how to lead from this place may take time but it will create workspaces that reflect and honor you and those who you lead as people first. Love spaces will also help to acknowledge that humanity is at least as important as productivity, money, mission, and visions.
Be bold. Be your authentic, leading lady self!