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Feminine Energy Holds the Key to the Future of Entrepreneur Leadership The feminine works with others to get the best outcomes together and knows that building on ideas means we honour the idea

By Rebecca Livesey

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Feminine leadership focuses on the characteristics that are valued highly by employees. But it is often undervalued by leaders. Feminine leadership is the collective, the creative and the care energies. These are qualities that we are practising in our jobs each day but usually approaching with a very masculine way of thinking. i.e. let's be creative and work together, but let's micro manage each other and show care only to receive a result in return. When these negative leadership styles are introduced early on in an entrepreneurial workspace, it can set your endeavours off to an immediate negative start.

It's important to remember that we are talking energy and not gender, both men and women possess both of these energies and tend to use one energy more than the other in leadership. Our goal as "professional human beings' is to learn how to leverage both of these energies functionally in the various areas of our lives and as leaders in entrepreneurialism. Whether we are male or female, our role is to bring out the functional feminine balance with functional masculine and encourage the same in our teams. We need to start valuing our people and the magic they bring to our organizations and focus less on the end result.

And as entrepreneurs, how do we achieve this? We focus on functional leadership by valuing feminine energy.

As a leadership specialist who has worked with national organizations and upcoming entrepreneurial leaders, to help them overcome challenges around employee engagement and workplace culture, the biggest issues that I see come down to this: we have overvalued the masculine style for too long in business and we have undervalued the feminine. For a long time now, we have over-masculinized business and both men and women have experienced the dysfunctional side to that. This often results in feeling stressed and experiencing, burnout, we can sometimes focus on KPI's rather than how to maximize (and focus) on the creative process in order to reach the end results. In some cases, both men and women often feel that they can't move up the corporate ladder or start a business because they don't resonate with the overly masculine qualities that they feel they need to succeed, it doesn't feel natural to them.

So, how do we lead with our feminine energy, and practice functional entrepreneurial leadership?

The feminine cares and connects with others. It empathizes and understands emotions and if there is an area in business that we seem to forget, it's care. Leadership is about how we serve others. For some leaders this may mean changing our mindset around care; we don't show care in the hope that our team will perform better, we show care, to serve them and to lead them.

As a leader, open your door to people in your organization who aren't in your direct management structure, this not only promotes a culture of care, but it also opens informal communication.

The feminine works with others to get the best outcomes together and knows that building on ideas means we honour the idea itself rather than honour the person who came up with it. After all, business is all about solving problems for our customers and our clients and we want to do that in the best way possible. In this way, we gain significance from creating great ideas and solutions as a culture, rather than celebrating just the individual.

As a leader, set up an environment where ideas that are built on together are celebrated and put structure in place to allow this to happen internally.

Remember: as much as we must support women in embracing an energy that has been previously associated with a weakness, we must also support men in tapping into their feminine energy and recognizing and respecting the value those traits can bring to an organization.

Rebecca Livesey

Director, Executive Coach, Strategy & Leadership Consultant

 Rebecca Livesey is the founder of Achieve Lead Succeed, and is based in Brisbane.

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