Finally, you can give up the whole "no emotions" thing at work. Sharon Hadary and Laura Henderson, co-authors of How Women Lead: The 8 Essential Strategies Successful Women Know, explain why women's leadership styles are the style of the future. Get ready for a serious confidence-boost. By Ava Feuer, REDBOOK.
You know how to use rewards effectively.
There are two ways of creating a reward system, one that spotlights the individual, and the other that heeds the team. A man might offer his standout employees a trip or a cash bonus while a woman is more apt to give rewards based on group performance. That may mean you're not going to Vegas this weekend, but in the long run, prizing everyone's contribution leads to a culture of individual growth and greater dedication overall. "It's the idea that we all have the same goals, the same set of requirements, and will all benefit from this," explains Henderson.
You include everyone in the conversation.
When you're dealing with a situation that has you stumped, it's likely you'll check in with colleagues, friends, and mentors. That's because women tend to embrace an inclusive, colsultative style of leadership. Henderson recalls that during her time as a CEO, she met with the secretaries once a month because she believed they knew more about the company than anyone else, and their insight would help her catch problems in their early stages. "Women are good at figuring out how to get the information they need," she says. "They aren't hierarchical about it."
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You may be laser-focused on your career, but that doesn't mean it's the only thing that matters to you. Thanks to women's natural ability - and need - to balance their professional, personal, family, and social lives, they understand others are whole individuals, too. "Women realize that you also have a personal life," says Hadary. Because you make an effort to understand where others are coming from - like allowing someone to leave early when her child is sick, but asking she works from home after he goes to bed - they're more likely to go out of their way to help you, and the company, achieve big goals.
You see the big picture.
Given how good you are at empathizing with the many responsibilities others have, it's no surprise that you tend to go beyond the facts - asking not just what but also why. "Women bring added emotional context to problem solving," says Hadary. "As a result, they may see an issue in a very different way, and develop a solution that will address not only the symptoms, but also the underlying problem."
You ask the experts for their insight.
If you were choosing a new school for your kids, you'd check in with friends and neighbors. You'd look up rankings and comments online. And you'd visit your top choices, and speak to teachers and administrators. That's because you naturally realize what many studies have proven-that different people are best informed about various facets of a situation and the more diverse the group, the better the solutions that emerge. The same is true at work. "Women are more likely to bring together people from different backgrounds, perhaps from different parts of the company, or different parts of their lives," says Hadary.
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You ask the right questions.
Once you've consulted the experts, you know how to get the information you need. Thanks to your inherent understanding of, and genuine interest in the people around you, you not only pose good questions, but take time to consider the answers' overall impact. "Women are more likely to start by examining the problem and to consider, 'are we asking the right questions' before moving to developing solutions," write Hadary and Henderson in How Women Lead. If your school system's considering implementing a new cost-cutting measure, for example, your first thought might be: "How will this affect the students' everyday lives?" versus "How will this impact the bottom line?"
You're willing to share the credit.
This isn't to say women aren't competitive - we don't buy into the myth the only men are interested in winning. But as women, we're more willing to accept that many people can come out on top. However, be weary of giving your successes away, something women sometimes unconsciously do. Hadary recalls a story of a woman who responded to her supervisor's praise by claiming her team, not she, was responsible. The supervisor responded, "You dismissed my compliment and therefore me when you said that. Next time someone gives you a compliment, say 'thank you.'"
You consider how decisions will affect others.
No one wants to be the person who breaks the news that there are no bonuses this year, or that everyone will have to work on a weekend or holiday. But if someone's got to do it, better you than your male colleague. Women do a good job of communicating the tough stuff within a greater context, emphasizing the issues considered - such as the need to meet a deadline that's been moved up or the loss of a major financial backer - and balancing them with business realities that everyone, despite their position, has to live with.
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You're an expert multitasker.
You have to be dressed and out the door in 15 minutes, and your husband's convinced you somehow know where he left his keys. Your daughter decides she needs help with her homework the moment your mother calls. Your boss left an urgent message, but you're at your son's soccer game. As a mom, daughter, wife, and professional, you're constantly forced to deal with what feels like a million things at once. It's not fun while it's happening, but it has taught you to manage your time more effectively, stay composed in crisis, and deal well with the unexpected. Those skills naturally follow you into your professional life, so embrace your ability to keep calm and carry on.
You don't get aggressive.
You're not an attack dog - neuroscience proves it. Women are less aggressive in both group and one-on-one situations, a characteristic Hadary and Henderson attribute to their seeing the big picture. "Women understand there are a lot of complexities to why something may have happened," says Henderson. "They work for resolution and understanding what may have happened and making sure it doesn't happen again." Imagine a home was sold far below its asking price. Instead of becoming angry, a woman is likely to look for new ways to understand, and improve the local housing market.
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