Show Up, Step Up and STAND OUT! How to Develop the Management Power of Women in the Workplace

Organizations that do not actively solicit, encourage and involve a feminine perspective at all levels in the organization are accessing only a small portion of their intellectual capital and organizational performance power. Women must show up by committing to making a more significant difference in the workplace and refusing to be limited by male-inspired workplace norms. They must step up and develop their strengths and talents, to use them to impact performance. They must stand out by doing what they do so well that they are noticed and recognized for their contributions. Only then will an organization be able to maximize its human capital potential.

Today’s intellectual workplace is a service workplace; much of manufacturing has moved offshore. In a service workplace, success happens in the relationships that employees create with customers; employees create the relationship and thereby impact the level of loyalty with customers. Employees who are engaged and connected to their work (their role matches the way they think and they have supportive, encouraging managers) consistently connect with customers and perform at great levels. In today’s service workplace employees need to feel valued, appreciated and important; they must passionately approach their work to create the environments that inspire customer connection and loyalty.

To activate this in employees, management must communicate and build consensus to connect with employees and win them into a personally meaningful vision. Management must build a powerful and supportive community that collaborates to make all employees feel part of the “family” and that their efforts are appreciated, understood and valued. Mostly, management must be able to intellectually connect employees to their roles and to emotionally connect employees to their managers to build honest and personal relationships; this creates engagement and loyalty. These attributes support a new millennial approach of “inspire-and-engage” instead of “command-and-control.” This is today’s formula for success and these millennial management qualities are more naturally found in the female than the male brain.

Women and men do not think the same way. Biology and brain architecture have outfitted both men and women to respond in very particular ways. Men prefer competition, women prefer community. Men are transactional, women are transformational. Men are doers, women are communicators. Men love the concept of win-lose; women prefer win-win. The classic male industrial age “command-and-control” thinking is now out of place in today’s “inspire-and-engage” service workplace.

Performance is the goal; those whose thinking that most inspires performance should have the roles of manager. In today’s workplace, this more favors women and the feminine mindset.

Confronted with years of lack of respect and limitations on contribution caused by male-inspired workplace traditions, women have been made to believe that they offer limited workplace value. In today’s intellectual workplace, this is all changed. To change the mindset of today’s dominant male thinking, women will need to embrace their talents, use these talents to impact performance and more vigorously defend their perspectives. As they see that they are a great fit for all roles in all organizations (regardless of what they have been told), they will develop the confidence to challenge today’s workplace gender biases, encouraging a view that is more focused on performance. Review these five critical intrinsic female strengths that are core to driving service age performance:

1. Communication – women communicate more effectively because they watch, listen and observe more body language, facial expressions and language nuances than men. Women focus more energy, attention and value to the communication process and in an age where communication moves information and information drives performance, women are better connected and informed. Communication between managers and employees is critical to aligning employees to the right roles and engaging them in their work. Women are skilled communicators. To develop this strength, women must improve on their directness, manage emotional communication and learn the vocabulary of performance.

2. Consensus-building– women are more natural at finding solutions that create win-win outcomes; they focus on bringing people and ideas together instead of highlighting differences. Women use their communication skills to understand people and ideas more effectively and naturally work to find agreement more than men. Women must continue to push for the win-win outcomes that encourages employee and customer loyalty by a constant focus on inventing opportunities, considering all options and weighing the feelings and attitudes of each party in business environments.

3. Community– women are more naturally inspired to find ways to unite, unify and build “family.” They nurture more effectively because their level of care is at the core of their internal values. Great relationship-building skills activate employee and customer loyalty and build a sense of oneness and community. Women, experienced in the familial environment, must continue to develop their belief in workplace community by sharing a common personalized vision and goals with employees who frequently feel disconnected and unsupported. Uniting the workplace into a powerful community attracts and retains the best employees.

4. Collaboration – Getting others to work and to get along is programmed into the biology and architecture of the female brain. The early goal of survival fostered a need for collaboration that still exists. Women are more aware of the need for a team or collaborative approach to complete tasks than the independent male warrior. Working together allows for greater innovation, creativity and overall performance than a series of independent high performing soloists. Women must continue to be the collaborative voice that calls for collective approaches at work and not support the more male perspective of the single “superstar” performer.

5. Connection– women possess an intrinsic ability to bond with others. Their overall focus on personalized interest and care insures that their interactions with others are strong, powerful and build connection. In today’s workplace, connection is the power of performance. Employees who are connected (intellectually) to their jobs (they match the way they think) like what they do and perform better. Employees, who are also connected (personally) to their managers, are more loyal, contribute more and perform better. Women must continue to raise the value of humanity (emotions, passions) in the workplace because connecting each employee to his/her work and management is the key to performance.

Developing these 5 strengths will prove to women that they have significant attributes to inspire and activate performance and are capable in all significant management and leadership roles throughout any organization. Their perspectives are valuable. They have the talents to inspire and engage the workforce to perform. They however, must choose to show up with a new and more self-confident attitude. They must step up by knowing, developing and using their strengths to drive performance. They must stand out to be heard in a workplace that frequently ignores them. Today, the powerful talents and perspectives of women are the key to igniting passionate performance throughout the organization. Use it and the organization will prosper. Ignore it and the organization misses out on one of its most significant assets – the performance power of the feminine mind.