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Thriving in 2005: Becoming a Phenomenal Women Leader on Her Way to the Top!

How many of you are tired of the traditional top down leadership style? Research says a lot of people are tired of the traditional leadership style. In fact, according to the Gallop organization, 80% of all employees wake up on Monday morning and don’t want to go to work. The primary reason for employees who don’t to be at work is what? You guessed it, the boss! With this kind of data who would disagree that this leadership model doesn’t work anymore? Make 2005 the year you become the best leader possible and get ready to experience phenomenal career success. How? Adopt a new leadership style.

After years of research and hundreds of interviews, I am convinced that this new model will blend the best of the male and female styles. I called this new leadership style, the hybrid leader. America’s future is contingent on the workforce getting this new leadership model right. America needs employees to be happy about going to work. Why? Happy employees are more productive, go figure. The research shows that 1 out 9 employees have thought about physically harming a fellow employee. When people are thinking about hurting each other they can’t be thinking about innovative ways to add value to the business. And if this information is not compelling enough think about one more data point: 1 out of 3 employees is depressed and they don’t even know it (Psychology Magazine).

To thrive in the business environment not only do people need to feel happy but they need to feel valued. People need to know that the leader cares. Is this sounding like the “touchy; feeling” stuff? Yes, but it is so much more than that. Emotional intelligence is critical in today’s environment. Unfortunately, corporate America hasn’t embraced the notion that people should express emotion in the workplace. This fits perfectly for the male leadership model but not the female leadership model. Females are naturally more open, collaborative and communicative.

Today’s employee wants to know “what’s it in for me”. This is the reason why it is so important for the leader to have a sense of service instead of selfishness. Creating a culture where employees can contribute and get something in return requires a new mind set. It requires a leader who understands that employees want a personal relationship with their immediate manager. The payoff is enormous.

What I have learned from my own corporate experience, my coaching clients and what has been validated by research is that today’s workforce is far more responsive to a leader who displays the following qualities:

• Flexible (understands how to leverage virtual teams and work/life balance)
• Values people for their uniqueness (diversity and inclusion)
• Connects people together for a greater good (Building collaboration for buy-in for one common vision)
• Dedicated to serving as a teacher
• Willing to coach others to success (being vested in their team’s success)
• Respects the employee holistically (beyond the professional environment)
• Values the non-traditional needs of employees (child care, elderly care, single parents, single period etc.)

Many of the above traits are natural for most women. This is not to say that men don’t also have some or all of these traits. The trick for women to become greater leaders is to leverage these traits and make use of a couple of strengths from the guys. What do we need to borrow from the guys?

Consider augmenting your current leadership competencies

1. Become a better strategist. Men are excellent at strategy development. Men have been in the business world a lot longer and have honed their abilities to think broadly and access decisions from multiple perspectives.

2. Find comfort in taking more risks. Risk taking is critical to advance the business in a fast past ever changing environment.

3. Recognize and respect the rules of the game. Like it or not business is a game and it is not personal. Sometimes you win; sometimes you loose but you continue to move. Guys can fight in meetings all day and then head off to have a drink as though nothing has happened. How do they do this? They don’t hold onto negative experiences or take it personal.

4. Build strategic cross functional relationships. This is a big one! Nothing happens in business without strong relationships. Men are intentional about engaging in water cooler talk and spending time dropping by to have lunch in effort to connect with people who can help them influence, persuade and advance ideas that they believe are important. Women need to slow down and put more effort in building relationships.

On top of leveraging your natural feminine traits and adding several key traits that are natural for men, we need to add some new leadership traits that aren’t inherent for either men or women. Consider these leadership mindsets:

1. Challenge the status quo from A to Z
2. Respect that work is a part of life, not life itself
3. Reject Bureaucracy
4. Embrace the global economy
5. Understand the trends of the workforce
6. Embrace change as an opportunity
7. Filter all decisions through both the head and the heart
8. Learn to truly empower others
9. Understand that “trust” in the workplace is priceless
10. Honor the power of choice

These are just some of the features of the hybrid leader style. Absorbing and processing this information is an excellent start in developing a leadership style that will enable you to achieve extraordinary results. So, you might be thinking this sounds like a lot of work. I must be honest, it is. Nothing worth doing is ever easy, but the pay off is tremendous.

If you want to experience greater fulfillment, professional satisfaction and feel the power of making a difference you will not regret making the effort of shifting to the hybrid leadership style. I have coached hundreds of mid level managers who have applied these learnings and have experienced phenomenal success. And on top of all that you and your team will perform better and your organization will be far more profitable.


Author: Trudy Bourgeois

http://www.workforceexcellence.com
http://www.trudybourgeois.com

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