Want to Change the World? Lead Like a Girl
SOS! The world needs help. We’re in the throes of a leadership crisis, and the effects could last for decades, if not generations, to come. You can see it all over the workplace, where at this moment 87% of employees feel unengaged, with one out of four experiencing acute work-related anxiety! A staggering 24 million Americans have left their jobs in the past year, and 40 percent claim they will leave within 12 months. New research points toward a nasty culprit, toxic work environments. Yikes!
What’s to be done? Employers, directors, and leaders, listen up. There is one change we can start making right now that will prevent future crises like the one we’re enduring today. If you want to heal and revitalize your team, you must lead like a girl. Yes. Lead like a girl.
Have a look at some of the world’s female leaders: New Zealand’s Jacinda Arden, Namibian Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa, former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh, just to name a few –– they’re all proof of what companies could achieve if leading like a girl became the new standard. This is the way to a more peaceful and prosperous workplace and world.
Power of 5P
It’s time for all leaders to cast off the dated “boss” tropes of aloofness and repressed emotion and embrace feminine leadership traits like empathy, team work, and intuition. Think power WITH people versus power OVER people. It’s a matter of following what I call the 5P model.
This is all about connecting to one’s strengths, passions and using them to make the world a better place. Long gone are the days of employees feeling like corporate robots where profit comes at expense of purpose and passion. Employees must find meaning in what they do and feel like they can bring their strengths to work every single day. Research has proven this is the core to a productive, happy and healthy workforce.
Now is the time to drop the ego and adopt a growth mindset. You either learn to fail or you fail to learn.
This is a hard one! It is imperative to prioritize self-care and set boundaries to manage your own energy and that of your team. The real enemy is not stress, but lack of recovery. Tap into new possibilities by integrating breathing, eating well, touch, recovery, rest and movement into our daily routines.
You can judge your quality of life by the quality of your relationships. Leading like a girl means investing in these precious relationships to create psychologically safe work environments – places where each person is celebrated for their unique strengths and employees get to know their peers and clients as humans.
Positive leadership –
The final P of leading like a girl is the part where we learn to be emotionally brave. What are some traits traditionally associated with women? I’m talking about resilience, value-based decision making, and empathy, for starters. These must be recognized as signs of strength, not weakness. Employees need to feel free to be human and not wear an emotional mask while at work. Being emotionally brave means not only accepting negative emotions, but learning how to express those feelings with caring candor. Too many leaders try to avoid conflict when it can be a source of incredible connection. An effective boss enables employees to grieve and process negative emotions, and then helps them, through hope, kindness and gratitude, move into an upwards spiral of positivity.
The Genius of AND
It’s not charisma or a specific skill that defines success as a leader. The secret is a cocktail of contagious positivity, embracing all emotions, and being brave enough to help team members express themselves. Now, combine these attributes with the old leadership standbys like logic and data, and you’ve nailed it! Get used to the concept of and instead of or: purpose AND profit, continuity AND change, freedom AND responsibility, discipline AND creativity. See how that works?
In times like these, understanding that success is not a zero-sum game is key to making things work. Demanding high standards and setting stretch goals while engaging, energizing and enabling your people is what leading like a girl is all about. It requires courage. That word, courage, comes from the French word, coeur, which means heart. That’s no coincidence. Truly courageous leaders lead from their heart.
This guest post was authored by Dalia Feldheim
As a marketing executive for 17 years at Procter & Gamble, Dalia Feldheim, author of Dare to Lead Like a Girl, led some of the world’s most iconic advertising campaigns: Always #LikeAGirl (2014 winner of 14 Cannes awards and Forbes 2020 10 Most Influential Campaigns of the Century) and Whisper’s “Touch the Pickle” (2014 winner of Cannes Sheryl Sandberg Glass Ceiling Award). After P&G, Feldheim became CMO Asia at another fortune 500 company, where she headed a team of 100 people across Asia. A citizen of Israel, she began her career as a platoon commander in the Israeli Defense Forces—an apt preparation for intense leadership roles. She is an adjunct professor of The Science of Happiness at the Singapore Management University and founder of Uppiness: an online game to promote wellbeing at work in partnership with Dr. Tal Ben Shahar and the Happiness Studies Academy.