A Coffee Break of Inspirational Leadership: I’m Scared I’ll Fail

Growing up, I was a tomboy in every sense of the word.

I was sent to the principal’s office for playing tackle football in middle school (still not sure how it was okay for the boys but not the girls).

I followed men’s professional sporting teams religiously and analyzed data from the newspaper a few days a week.

My favorite clothes were always what I was able to stealthily remove from my brother’s drawers and closet.

But being a female in a realm of school leadership that data shows is more accessible (and often welcoming) to men made me stop and think…more than once. How do women best lead like girls (substitute females) and better tap into their feminine strengths?

Talk. Let’s face it. As women, we like to talk. I don’t need to pull any research on this to know that it is more characteristic for women to talk with one another. A lot. But that works to our advantage. Being seen as chatty and conversational means that we can connect, discuss, and establish cohesion. Keep talking!

Get personal. One of the challenges I faced early on was the modeling from other female leaders who said I needed to keep anything personal from ebbing into the work environment. #worstadviceever When we talk about ourselves, our children, our extended families, our activities and hobbies, we are better able to nurture relationships. And that helps us all as leaders….and quite simply, as human beings. Take a risk. Share (but please, within moderation).

Nurture those in need. Most leaders know the importance of supporting others, whether in times of need or beyond. Let’s call it collective empowerment. And this compassion and support doesn’t fall more on one gender than the other. However, there is some interesting research that concludes women differ in HOW they experience and express compassion and nurturing. When dealing with stress, women have a tendency to do what is called “tend and befriend.” They reach out to other women and they socialize, bond, and nurture in their social circles. And when I think of those at work who have lost family members, it was the women who set up card circles, meal deliveries, and supported through daily text messages.

Clearly there are more ways to lead like a girl, but these three characteristics are those that are typically most natural and can bring the biggest bang for the buck. When we focus on and hone the skills that are a little more prevalent in women than men, we can make a positive impact in our homes, work, and communities.

Check this out. And…hey….happy Monday!

* Read it.

This is a short but good read from Fast Company, focusing on how women lead differently and why it matters. Whether you are male or female, it has some good info about collective empowerment, collaboration, mentorship, and more. Take a look and read it HERE.

* Watch It.

This week I found you the shortest video possible, so its a must that you watch it because it features Simon Sinek and his rationale on the differing leadership styles of the genders.

* Share it.

Can you print these and share them? Notes to colleagues on key topics like knowing they are cared for and that you have their backs. Now go slay yet another week!