Difficulties and opportunities of being a female leader in critical situations

For years I have been struggling with the idea of being the right leader, the right co-worker, the right mother, the right wife, the right daughter, the right sister, but I have forgotten the idea of simply being me as woman, a girl, simply myself…

The expectations are all around and somewhere in this journey we just leave behind the one thing we have, that is the most powerful and the most wanted characteristic of a female – the diversity of having born a instinctive human being, with emotion, who cares….

I already lost the number of times that something made me think over my actions, decisions, and the whole path that took me to these actions, decisions – and normally there are only two situations identified – the moments that I am proud of how I did it and I do not put too much thought on it, and the moments which I do not feel comfortable, and I do feel that I am not following what is right, and normally when this happens, I know something will not work.

Perfect – …but, this “something”-will-not-work-and-I-do-know – trust me, just works for family, partners, and long time colleagues. But be careful…. this does not work in the work environment, unless there is a huge amount of trust…

…and why is this?

Doing my reflections and meditations on the topic I had a huge insight!!!

The reason is a problem, but also as my mother used to say, do not focus in the problem, but look which opportunity is there, and here I did find it!!!

My thoughts guided me to understand that there is a simple way to guide men (or some women who do not know) to get the best from the female co-workers, and also how the female co-workers can help their bosses to bring the best out of them.

Normally the biggest gender gap comes when there is a decision to take or a crisis to face, and decisions sometimes can not be taken on facts or figures, but at the same time, some decisions that are major DO NEED more basis to be taken or to be approved.

When someone is pressured to decide, if this someone is a woman, she is going to follow her instincts, and she will get the “feeling” of much more things in the air, the men will be able to capture facts and figures that will sum up to a more rational decision…

Lately, and believe me, I am becoming an expert in having to take decisions under pressure, in crisis, in difficult times and with as little information as one can have, and I do feel that the decisions have been very good, but I was doubting my ability to take decisions by myself, since I had always a push, a guide of someone.

Some of these days, after one of those conversations and brain stormings, and not being able to put on a paper my instincts, my gut feeling, and not being able to convince the other side, I saw that a suggestion was given based on clear facts that were right… and I had no solution but accept it, I had no argument other than instinct.

…and then this huge feeling of something getting wrong came to me, how is it possible that I can not share that I do feel that something might not be good, why do I fear telling about my instincts…

This was when I got back to a great book, “Women who run with wolves” from a psychiatrist and Jungian with her book translated to several languages and with several prizes for being able to decipher the archetype of the “wild women” – something that all women loses by getting mature and having to fit into society and the expectations organizations have from leaders (which normally are male models).

(http://www.clarissapinkolaestes.com/women_who_run_with_the_wolves__myths_and_stories_of_the_wild_woman_archetype_101250.htm)

The book helped to understand that things are going well because it is the second time in my entire professional life I have a boss who can be able to take the best out of me as a woman.

The first time I experienced something like this was in Europe when I was a leader in Hungary (coincidently the author of the book is a Hungarian!) and I can not recall a more successful leadership time than this one (in my own leader life), this was the result of having the team that allowed me to be myself and made me the leader I was and I had great coaching mentorship and leadership from my boss, Dr Brocks. Coming back to this time, I recall that I had a coach, Penny Sophocleous, who helped me a lot, and each time I had a feeling an instinct of something, I used to call my boss, and I do not know if consciously or not, he used to pay HUGE attention when I asked his guidance to take a decision, which I was sure I had to make, but I did not know how to present it for approval… 🙂 Best of 2 worlds – Dr Brocks trusted me 1000%, I never felt so supported and so valued, he used to ask me many things and used to coach me until I was able to have clearly the gut feeling, the instincts into a “male” translator based on facts and a business format to present and get approval, and we did receive approval for everything and this was the same time when I used to share with my team meditations and Spiritual Quotient (Dana Zohar) learnings…

The “bias” when you go higher in leadership is clear, being a woman, you are emotional and you do get involved into the situation, because you do care for people. And then when there is a crisis and there is a pressure, nobody wants to hear what is your gut feeling, your instinct, and I can really understand it, on the other side, when there are no facts and figures, you have to follow something and here this female instinct is important.

But sad enough, some people loses the opportunity, because if there is a bias that women use to get emotionally attached, then automatically the lack of facts and figures and the presentation of instincts and gut feeling are (for them) only a proof that the vision is blurred by emotions and the woman is not being able to see straight… This is the time where I identify the wise people, the ones who can see straight and just ask you – ¨why are you thinking this, are you seeing something I am not?” and then really listens to you and starts a generative conversation try to find something better out of both perspectives. And also I can identify the ones who instead of generating further,  look the other way telling – she is not getting me into this emotional BS, if she does not get straight to the point I will challenge until she does not have more arguments, but I will not help her¨.

Here I thank once again the insight I had yesterday, because it is the second time in my life that I see that I have a male boss who somehow tries to “bear” with my instincts. For me is clear now how to go forward – it is just by sharing my instincts and being completely open telling – I do not know how to put on paper, I do not have facts, I wanted you to help me to think, and wanted you to try to see through my eyes, I am sure that the decisions will be much much better and these will be the best of 2 gender worlds!

By the end everybody wins, since male and female professionals are very complementary, the point is to find clearly how each one operates and never ever judge or start a conversation with bias, or assumptions, because judgment and pre assumptions really WILL blur the analysis and will be the obstacle for the best ideas to flow…

Diversity is indeed great, but for this greatness, we must be much more mature than we are now, since we should really leave our bias and assumptions aside and instead of criticizing emotions, straight forwardness or whatever characteristic of someone who is different from you, you just have to be open enough to understand that other perspective is a window which is opening to your brain, to your mind to be able to get to another level…

I have learned, I am happy that I have another task – be more free from judgment and help people to do so!!!

…and for sure be proud that I am a woman in all senses, with my instincts, with my emotions and passion, and above all with my love for people…

0 views0 comments
BLOG