What Does It Take To Be a Transformative Woman Leader?

This post is by Abigail Sabijon, Managing Editor,

The glass ceiling still exists, according to former Chanel Global CEO, Maureen Chiquet, even in today’s society where equality is supposed to be upheld in every corner. She found out it’s because women are still “condemned for being too soft, not powerful enough and don’t have enough leadership presence.” Hence, women emulate male leaders in order to fit in and be accepted. However, Chiquet emphasizes in an interview that’s not how it should be, for women already have these intrinsic qualities that can make them into the most transformative leaders. What are these feminine traits that can bring about transformation in the workplace? Read on to find out.

Women are intrinsically empathetic.

Perhaps the reason why women are perceived to the softer gender is that of our empathetic tendencies. This is not to discount the same inclination of men, but plenty of studies have claimed that this tendency if highly manifested by women. Whichever is the case, women should embrace this valuable quality. If we were in the employee’s shoes, we would definitely appreciate a boss who understands our situation and feels what it’s like to be in it.

Feeling for other people should not be considered as a weakness, but rather, an edge to be utilized in every way. In her interview with Harper’s Bazaar, harnessing traditionally feminine qualities is “virtuous for both clients and employees.”

Women are intrinsically listeners.

There has been a lot of debates about which gender is the better communicator, but results often lead to futility. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and surely a lot of us fail in effectively and sympathetically listen to others. We have our own biases and priorities so we easily fall into our own inclination of self-preservation.

While many of us would be quite unsuccessful at this but it’s not too late to start. Being a good listener will really take you a long way, especially when dealing with employees or subordinates because earning their respect and loyalty is a clear sign of good management.

Women go down someone’s road.

She worked her way up, starting from the bottom management towards the peak of her career as Chanel’s first global chief executive. She said to Harper’s Bazaar that she considers herself privileged to have worked with and served a lot of women. “You can understand where the customer is coming from,” she said. She knows what it’s like to be in their situation. Aside from working with companies selling to women, she has also managed to revolutionize brands like Gap and Old Navy to cater to their clients and tap prospect customers seeing through the eyes of a customer.

Chiquet has already made headlines when she got the top positions in Banana Republic and Chanel. After leaving Chanel back in 2016, she’s returned with a book titled Beyond the Label: Women, Leadership, and Success on Our Own Terms. Now that we’ve familiarized ourselves with the ‘what’ let’s talk about the ‘how’. Harnessing the essentials may be the best place to start. In order to be a transformative individual, it would be best to evaluate yourself with the following:

Do you prioritize your health?

Photo by Pixabay via Pexels.jpeg

It’s best to start this discussion with a discourse about health. All our aspirations will only boil down to nothing if we’re not healthy enough to strive and thrive.

Sleep has profound impacts on our functioning. People can get to work cranky. Others can neither focus nor be prolific when they’re not well-rested. Sleep your way to perfection – that’s what the world needs right now and that’s why scientists are now invested in helping people get enough of it.

You are what you eat. When you’re not getting the right nourishment, you would definitely have a hard time achieving your goals. Just like sleep and food, living an active lifestyle contributes to our total well-being, including emotional and psychological.

Do you strive for excellence?

Tasks – be it menial or major – should be done with due diligence to produce excellent work. We all know how crucial productivity is. However, though it pays to work hard, it pays better when you work smart. Being productive doesn’t mean grinding it out non-stop. It’s about priorities and being creative in juggling numerous responsibilities in a day.

Doing so also communicates your competence. We shouldn’t settle for mediocrity as it won’t benefit you at all. Challenge yourself once in a while. Imagine how fulfilling it is when you’ve exceeded your own expectations!

Do you hold relationships valuable?

Team Work from Pexels.jpeg

You need support on your way up and while you’re on top, and if these relationships are kept and taken care of, you’ll have people to back you up when you’re down. Aside from forging a good relationship with your colleagues is establishing a confident relationship between you and your boss. Be the person they can rely on. Be the person your colleagues would respect. And be the person you yourself can trust.

Do you stand up for yourself and others?

Respect is not asked but is earned. One way to be treated fairly is to speak out what needs to be brought to the table. Be the voice of those who can’t speak up for themselves. Be a supporter and communicator of change that would benefit everyone in your workplace. When you get to the point of empathizing and standing up for others, you won’t only earn their respect but also win their hearts.

Do you play to your strengths?

Take advantage of your talents and skills. Make good use of them whenever you can. Keeping them to yourself, thinking that others can manage without your contribution can count as false humility. Your weaknesses count, too. The most powerful edge would be the weakness that one has overcome. These flaws are downright undesirable but they teach us a lot of things, but most importantly, they remind us that we’re not perfect and that we still have a lot to learn.

Do you influence others for the good?

Woman image via Pexels.jpeg

Do you appreciate others? Do you treat everyone equally? Are your smile and happiness superficial? Are you sincere? Are you being true to yourself? Our personalities and attitudes change when we’re in different settings and when surrounded by different people. However, it’s our character that dictates our actions when no one is looking.

Concluding thoughts…

While Chiquet continually emphasizes that there’s totally nothing wrong with being focused, determined and resolute – qualities that are often attached to a male leader – women should not forsake their femininity in dealing with jobs that are traditionally for men. They should remain authentic and stop pretending to be “one of the guys.” Instead, opt to synergize the two distinct qualities of men and women, and then world transformation will follow. I believe transformation should start from within before we could even make an impact on other people. When we know in ourselves who we really are and what we truly want, it won’t be that hard to help others in their own journeys of self-discovery.

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