DIFFERENT COMMUNICATION STYLES
Let us acknowledge that women and men are different physically and emotionally, which is why they tend to lead in different manners. While nothing is absolute, there are definite tendencies according to gender. Men and women who have invested in personal development flatten the curve.
The primary reason men communicate is to inform, build status, and command. Women, on the other hand, communicate to build relationships, gain cooperation, and consensus. Men prove their expertise through providing solutions and “preaching” their beliefs. Women listen more, encouraging others to expand their knowledge so that trust is gained.
Women ask questions even when they already know the answer to facilitate connections. Men avoid asking questions because they believe it lowers their status.
During this time of the unknown, when emotions are high, we need consensus building. We need leaders who think in terms of “us,” not me. Leaders who are pushing the envelopes of innovation and imagination. Leaders who can nurture our emotional and financial wounds.
We need women who are prepared to have the tough conversations, who can empathetically restore confidence in the workplace. Since women tend to listen more, the conversations will be more centric-minded with more people contributing to solutions.
Tracie Kenyon, CEO of Montana’s Credit Unions believes that the best opportunity for learning is right now. Tracie said, “We need to focus on what is really good and to determine the true issues.” Tracie believes that to move forward we should look at people as wholistic beings rather than numbers, data, or stats. We should give them resources to become better people so that when the next challenge occurs that they will have better internal resources to meet their challenges.
Aleesha Webb, President of the Village Bank, also said that one of the values of her bank is to put relationships first. Aleesha feels that her job as the leader is to listen first, to make other team members feel as if their voice counts, to ask questions, and to facilitate discussions. She believes that when people are challenged, they need to be empowered, not just told what to do.
Tracie and Aleesha believe in nurturing people so that they are emboldened, resilient, and energized. They believe that the best way forward is through collaboration. When challenged, they do not try to meet the challenge alone; they seek support and guidance, building a stronger community.
TOUGH LOVE IS NEEDED
Leaders, during crisis, tend to take on an autocratic role, taking the point, and asking others to follow. But, now is not the time for blind following, because the answer is unknown.
Now is the time for women to show a different, more collective leadership style. Now is the time for that “tough love” that generations of women have used in growing their children into being self-sustaining adults.
This is not the time to compete as a nation. This is the time to unite and who better to lead us forward than women who have utilized this communication style for decades?
**Sherry Winn is a Two-Time Olympian, National Championship Coach, and CEO of the Winning Leadership Company. To discover more about Sherry’s blogs, go to her website at www.thewinningleadershipcompany.com.