Masculine and Feminine Traits, for Business

We all value feminine traits in our personal lives: we honour our mothers, celebrate beauty, reward selflessness…and yet, we hold these traits in contempt within the business world.

Traditionally, masculine traits have been seen as strong, and feminine as weak. We have hired and fired, based on an individual’s portrayal of one over the other. We have suppressed traits within ourselves in order to fit into the role of “leader,” when in fact, we may have been doing ourselves and those we work with a massive disservice.

So what’s the formula? Should we all, male and female, continue to try and conform to the redundant power-male leadership model? Or should we all let the pendulum swing to the other side, and solely reward feminine leadership traits?

The answer is Neither of the Above.

Let’s start by identifying some typical masculine and feminine traits, so we can speak more fluently as we move forward:

Positive Masculine Traits:

  • liberty
  • objectivity
  • rationality
  • motivation
  • precision
  • power
  • courage
  • assuredness
  • concentration
  • stability
  • assertiveness
  • control
  • reliability
  • mindfulness
  • judgment
  • genuineness
  • order

When those traits are taken too far, or viewed in a negative light, they can result in perceptions of:

  • cruelty
  • aggression
  • superiority
  • selfishness
  • insensitivity
  • violence
  • egotism
  • cold-heartedness

Positive Feminine Traits:

  • open-mindedness
  • vulnerability
  • supportiveness
  • affection
  • generosity
  • tenderness
  • intuitiveness
  • approachability
  • empathy
  • tolerance
  • imagination
  • patience
  • creativity
  • inclusiveness
  • flexibility
  • harmony
  • diversity
  • trustworthiness

And the negative:

  • sentimentality
  • dependence
  • frailty
  • neediness
  • defencelessness
  • distraction
  • irrationality
  • calculating
  • chaos

Now I don’t want you to think that just because you’re male, you display all the male traits listed…or that just because you’re female, you have all the feminine traits and none of the male. Each one of us possesses a unique mix, and it’s up to you to get to know yourself and to identify which traits you rely upon, naturally. It is perfectly natural for a man to display feminine leadership traits, and vice-versa.

As you develop your leadership skills, make it a goal to know your dominant masculine and feminine traits, and to call on each one when the situation warrants it. Some circumstances will require a tougher approach, whilst others will call for more empathy. Always focus on the positive, and avoid taking any single trait too far, into the negative.

And one more thing: Never subscribe to the thinking that all feminine traits should be stifled in business. Too often, budding leaders choose male traits because they are rewarded more often; when in fact, female leadership traits are showing us, more and more often, that they are the traits that get the best results.

Have a beautiful day, beautiful you.