By Manpreet Dhillon
Many of the countries who are at the forefront of providing strong leadership in this pandemic are also women and men who are all embodying the feminine leadership principles and understand the various cultural influences that may be impacting individuals right now. Feminine leadership principles include empathy, collaboration, relationship building, strategy, and a real focus on people. In Canada the past few months, the COVID response was led by a woman chief health minister is leading the country, and women also are leading seven of the provinces – many of them are from diverse cultural backgrounds.
They focus on the underrepresented populations to ensure there is economic equality to prevent further increases in the gaps that exist. And in this time of crisis, these women lead with the quintessential feminine leadership principles of empathy and connectedness, building a strong relationship with the public while keeping the focus on providing a strong foundation of economic empowerment and deep understanding of cultural influences that may impact these individuals. They are also focusing on creating a stronger sense of community and safety from the notion that everyone belongs and is accepted here. We are all citizens of the country and deserve equality. This message itself is a powerful one, as it is one that all organizations can embody. These women show the world the power that exists in the new world that we are stepping into.
The new world is a world where half of these leaders, being women, embody the feminine leadership principles that can help us move forward to a place where we are capable of genuinely thriving. And it is not just the women who are embodying this type of power. The men in leadership roles are practicing these feminine principles as well, doing what is necessary at this time to ensure that the country is remaining calm and collected as we adapt to our changing circumstances. When we look at organizations and see stats about women on boards, we recognize how women impact revenues and organizational cultures. Research shows that companies with 30% of C-Suite being female saw up to a 15% increase in profitability.
Now, on a much broader scale, we are seeing real examples of how an entire country’s leadership can change, and how it does change when women are in leadership roles. Women lead from a different place than mend to, and in this time of crisis and uncertainty, it’s their nurturing qualities—and being relatable and transparent—that allow people to feel a sense of ease and grace. That said, we know that some people aren’t listening to the wisdom and guidance these women are offering. They’re showing resistance, and even hostility, towards the feminine leadership that provides others with so much positivity.
When contemplating these individuals, we need to take a moment to wonder what feminine looks like to them or feels like to them. What kind of experiences have they had with feminine energy? From their mothers, or other women in power in their lives? If they have had negative experiences taking orders from women in positions of power, then they will often have a negative knee-jerk response to any woman in leadership. And we can have compassion for them as well. The leadership of this country that we’ve been witnessing calls for great admiration. Our leaders have been spending their days and nights immersed in this crisis, and instead of giving in to fear or negativity, they’re stepping into their power to show us how we can all work together to make this world a better place. It’s in times of crisis that real leadership shows its face. In these times, our true, innate abilities show up and give us trustworthy guidance about how we can contribute to those around us. Our instincts hone in on which leadership qualities will be most beneficial to the world both at this time, and we want to build together in the future.
At this time, masculine leadership qualities would not be the most beneficial. They would focus primarily on end numbers and targets, rather than connecting with people on a human level. Though research on whether women lead countries fared better in the pandemic than similar countries led by men is still in its early stages, it is clear that there is a difference in the leadership response to the global pandemic. When countries of similar size are compared to that of its equal, the women lead countries were faster to respond to the threat and have consequently had healthier populations under their feminine leadership. These masculine energies are important, and we have benefitted from them because that’s where measurement is. But right now, it’s the human qualities and soft skills that exemplify what true leadership is about.
Author’s Bio: Manpreet is the Founder and CEO of Veza, a socially responsible company offering training, workshops, international trade missions and executive and career coaching to individuals and companies. Veza aims to transform the face of leadership by accelerating more women of cultural backgrounds in leadership positions.