Women take your place at the top!
by Chad E Cooper
I have seen so many situations where companies are benefiting greatly in both brand and profits while having women in leadership positions. Not just leadership positions as a blanket term, but with women as executives, making decisions that can make or break the company. When women are seen and treated as equals in the workforce magic happens due to the complement of their innate skill-sets compared to those of their male counterparts. Sadly, men traditionally have not agreed on this sentiment.. Having women in management and leadership roles in business is today is not only important, it is critical to growth and longevity. Women, now is your time to take your place at the top; I encourage everyone, both male and female, to read on and hear why.
I believe that the first and most important asset that a woman brings to business or any workplace is their ability to speak their truth through love. There’s a vast difference between just speaking your truth, and speaking your truth through love. There’s an old U2 verse in their Running To Stand Still song that says, “Scream without raising your voice,”. Certain industries have permitted men to believe that they can speak their truth without considering the impact on others. This behavior has even been seen as a badge of honor. However, this is not an effective method of communication, it’s just intimidating and can even be considered bullying. We live in a world now where the fear of losing your job is not an effective strategy for any manager to use and get results. I find my clients wanting a positive working atmosphere to be much more important than a paycheck. So, men take note: louder is no longer a better way for your co-workers to hear you.
Women have this incredible ability to speak their truth through love; they use their empathic understanding before judgement, and this motivates the people around them. Speaking the truth through love may very well have some sharp edges at times that not everybody is prepared to hear or accept, but it is always a message that will help drive a company’s mission toward success. This skill, the ability to speak your truth through love, increases profit margins and customer loyalty, and can serve clients in a better way. Treating people as equals, rather than judging and seeing people as superior or inferior, creates an atmosphere of trust, leading to an ‘all-in’ approach to hitting targets.
Women also have more of an ability to explore in many directions with an expanded vision. Men tend to be singular-mission-focused; this is great if you have a very specific outcome that you’re clear on the direction and exactly what needs to happen, but there’s a tremendous value in the ability to explore in all directions first in the planning stages. Women also can explore and feel along a direction, whereas men tend to be logic-driven and discount the emotional value of a given situation. I know I personally, as a man, can get blinded and become too singular-mission-focused. In this way, there is a great value in having the balance of both men and women on project and business teams. Keep in mind, I am not saying that ’all’ men or ’all’ women behave one way or the other… stay with me; remain open minded.
We know through sales that the most effective sales are from people who buy on emotion and support it with logic. Generally, men tend to think that if they lead with logic and build a great mousetrap, that people will buy it. Statistically since people lead with their emotions, women may be geared towards being able to serve both of those perspectives in the right order for a higher level of success. Build a great mousetrap and show emotionally why they need it and they will buy it.
I love that most women have a willingness to break tradition, and at the same time, respect it. Men don’t want to lose position and women today desire to reach positions that men typically champion. I’ve coached and worked with many professional athletes and it’s harder to maintain the title than it is the desire and eagerness to earn it the first time. Most women understand the value of the seed and the need to nurture it and water it, so that they can create a good harvest. Many women on their way up see this as a growth period; whereas many men fear that they’re on the way down and are clinging on to not wanting to lose any ground. If you visualize a hill, and the men are on top and the women are climbing up the sides. Traditionally we have seen men stake their claim to the top, but should they be the only gender permitted at the top? I don’t think so and neither does society anymore. The male perspective has been “don’t get pushed off the mountain”, but if you follow the truth of great militaries which is what corporations were originally modeled after; everyone must make the climb up and earn their right to be there and if you can’t meet the standards then it’s time to give up the position regardless of tenure.
Over the years, I have seen many female clients that are better at practicing radical open-mindedness. For example, if you’re deaf, you can go get resourceful to find a way to hear through your hands. Many men when they have become deaf to the needs of their employees or clients, continue to be obstinate not finding other ways to hear. They continue what they know will not work instead of opening their minds to other possibilities. I believe women are better at practicing radical open-mindedness looking for alternatives if something is not working in a prescribed manner.
In relationships, I think we would prefer a doctor relationship versus an urgent care transaction. Women tend to create meaningful long-term relationships better, which statistically results in industry’s better return on investment. Like the ongoing relationship with our family physician, not just a onetime transaction to the ER. When you create a relationship with your clients, employees, your leadership and in your community, you will see better returns on that investment than if you treat them as a single transaction. This is the reason so many women are more successful in area’s involving client sales.
How do women and men complement each other in business? I look at it like a thriving marriage. A thriving marriage is based on believing in the best of each other, not expecting the worst of each other. Knowing what each other’s strengths are and using each other’s skills. How many businesses treat their co-workers in that same capacity? It’s not a question of gender. It’s about humanity. If we look at a thriving marriage, each understands their talents and they become a team to win.
Having this mindset allows us to break from the tradition that man should be the primary breadwinner and top provider. I believe you should decide as a family how to orchestrate a winning playbook, not one where traditionally ignorance is your guide. One challenge I see often when coaching men has been their feeling intimidated by a strong successful woman for a partner. In unconventional thinking, either partner can make more money without any negative feelings by the other. Women can be the breadwinner of a family if it’s about having the best family as your outcome, not whose gender pays the bills. It’s about both parties feeling complete and in joy with whatever their dreams are. Again radical open-mindedness can play a part here.
I know from personal experience when my wife and I made the decision for me to be a stay at home Dad before it was even pioneered. I chose to retire from the corporate world, so that I could model the character and values we stand for while raising our son instead of a stranger. My wife loved her work and did not want or need to quit what she loved doing. So, we made the decision I would be the primary caregiver. We both designed the same playbook for a strategy of a thriving relationship and raised our child with the character and values we wanted instilled in him. We are all so much stronger for it now. As he grew to a maturity and independence level, I bought businesses that allowed me to still be fulfilled and balance career and caregiving. It has been one of the most fulfilling roles of my life and allowed our household to rise above the middle-income standard and win big time. Keep in mind this worked for us and may not be what works for you. As in any team, you must make decisions together as equals.
Now let’s apply this to the workforce. Men and women should not be opposing forces or see themselves on opposing teams. There can be no us or them on one team. Find the best within each member of your team no matter what their gender. Women tend to understand this within the dynamics of business and balance the team with their personal ambitions far better than men in many cases. But first we must stop looking at women as if they choose not to be in the workforce. There is also a need to understand and stop penalizing men at the same time and stop making men less than for their gifts and talents for being an active parent. I remember taking my son to the park before he started school and getting looks like, he must be unemployed to be here with his son in the afternoon. I suggest we drop the roles completely and avoid assuming anything. Are you starting to get it? Someone’s talents and gifts to a business are not about gender, the differences just enhance them as a person.
Another issue that comes up in the workplace according to my female clients are issues with women working for other women bosses. I’ve heard many women say that they have had a harder time working for female bosses than male bosses. I think this is an insecurity thing with many women still under the impression that they need to act more like a man to succeed and may see other women as a threat. It also may be a matter of what they’re really trying to say to themselves… “Do I think I can be a top performer and still be an extraordinary spouse, supermom and a fitness goddess?” I have seen many of my women clients who think that they must trade in their radiance and what makes them come alive to fit into the man’s world. But, when a woman shows up in her radiant essence and performs at work it can be a challenge to other women who don’t understand that women have just as much power, it’s just different than a man. If another woman holds some resentment that they gave up that part of themselves it can become a very unpleasant environment for other women. You didn’t trade in a dress for a pantsuit! Comparison is a thief of joy. I believe that women have a harder time because they’re comparing themselves to not only men but each other and this has to stop.
A former female client had some women bosses in the past. I remember she had one that everybody at work her first day warned her was a ballbuster. Female co-workers told her that this manager was incredibly impossible to work with. And they were right. I coached her to understand what would make her look good in the eyes of this new boss. How to stand in her radiance without being a threat. She just needed to know how the woman thought and what she was asking of her employees. After learning a method of successful communication skills and what her bosses needs vs wants were, she was able to position herself from a different prospective than anyone else; she was able to align and became one of her favorite employees. She also did far better than the other employees because she understood how to create a long-term relationship while the others approach was as a daily transaction for a paycheck that they just had to survive.
So how does a woman work in a man’s world as a woman? First don’t take a white knuckle, man-up approach. If you maintain your integrity of who you are, your radiant essence, along with mission of the project, you succeed. You don’t have to toughen up or harden up. Since women tend to be able to incorporate the masculine qualities of mission, freedom and love while maintaining their feminine flow they can succeed. Men tend to resist embracing the feminine energies of adventure, speaking their truth through love, filling up, and feeling safe at the expense of their own and the company’s success. Great leaders have understood this, both men and women — Oprah Winfrey is an example; just won, as the first African-American woman, the Cecil B. DeMille Award. She got up and she shared her story about how she grew up and how she wanted better than what her mom had worked her butt off to receive. She knew she had a place at the top and just went for it by balancing her masculine and feminine qualities. Great leaders are vulnerable, which is not weakness. It’s strength. I believe women forget or were never taught their strengths align in business, but maybe the new generation will change that. Vulnerability is what connects us. It’s what allows us to see the humanity in each other and then embrace the masculine pieces as well, because in the workforce, that’s necessary.
Tips and Take-a-ways-
- Learn how to create harmony within both genders to maximize potential. People buy on emotion and support it with logic. So always use both.
- Master learning how to be an active listener before you respond. Many people are coming up with questions/comments in their head to reply, before the person is even finished speaking. This means they don’t hear what people are saying. Instead empty your cup. Be curious about what someone is saying, and you will find you build a long-term relationship much easier.
- Get proficient at both an evidence-based approach to problems as well as emotional. Some people tend to be better at encouraging others emotionally and finding evidence to support logic and their heart is a win more frequently.
- Ask yourself: how do you meet the challenge without losing who you are in the process? This can be a challenge for both men and women. It is the ego versus the heart.
- Ask yourself: Do you define your success by other people’s approval or rejection? By the size of your house? By the size of your paycheck? By the size of your title or by your character? Or by whether you’ve made a difference in this world? Learn how to achieve both making a difference and material attainment.
- Ask yourself: Can I be open to change without losing my character. Ray Dalio recently said in his best-selling book Principles, “understand that people are wired differently and that can be a strength. You gain insights and distinctions that you would otherwise miss and you may lose your competitive edge if you try to have everybody agreeing or everybody seeing the same thing.”
- I believe it was George Patton that said, “If I’m in a room where everybody is agreeing, it means somebody is not thinking.” Learn to speak your truth from your heart. Others may not agree with you, but that’s ok because it’s how things improve..
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