Women have always passed down their knowledge from generation to generation. In the past, that knowledge centered around taking care of our family and home. Now it is time for women to share their work and career knowledge with other women.
I spent my career in traditionally male roles in the very male-dominated industries of construction and facilities management. Throughout most of my career when I attended a meeting, I was:
The Woman In The Room
As a young woman beginning my career, I was told, as many women are, that men naturally excel at business and I was expected to measure up and fit into men’s way of working. But all around me I saw chaos, crisis management, stress and high levels of inefficiency. I wanted to do better. So right from my first week I vowed to improve how the male-dominated workplace functioned.
It didn’t take long for me to be outperforming all of my male peers. And throughout my career, that is the one thing has been very consistent – I always outperformed my male colleagues. Always!
Sound like a bold statement for a woman to make? Maybe but for me it started a quest to answer the question – Why? What was I doing that my male colleagues were not that resulted in higher performance?
For most of my career I attributed my success to my professional skills but primarily to being a leader in implementing a systems approach and Lean principles. However, as time went on and I dug deeper, I realized that my real advantage was that I was a woman.
I realized that I brought traits to the workplace that my male colleagues didn’t. And when I applied them, there was an immediate and profound improvement in our performance.
I realized that female traits are critical to having a high performing workplace.
This is however is contrary to everything we are taught. We are taught female traits are good for nurturing, creating a wonderful home, raising children and charity work. In the workplace our female traits limit us to support and secondary roles. If we want to be equal to men, rise up in our workplace ranks and have a successful career, we are told to man-up and adopt male traits. After all, it is male traits that drive business success.
It is this belief in the superiority of male traits in the workplace that is wrong.
Even though male traits drove society and business forward for centuries, they are no longer good enough. This is because the world has changed dramatically. Everything is more complex and interdependent. Complexity is demanding the male-dominated workplace change how it functions.
The male-dominated workplace has known for decades it needs to change. It knows it needs to make “a paradigm change” and move away from how it has always functioned by relying on the personality and abilities of individual men to functioning through a systems-approach. However, it continuously struggles to change and often fails in its attempts.
Because, the male-dominated workplace believes all solutions come from male traits. But they don’t.
A systems-approach introduces the concept of working in wholeness. And wholeness can’t be achieved by male traits alone. Wholeness is only achieved by blending and balancing male and female traits. This is why I out-performed my male colleagues. I worked in wholeness. They didn’t.
For most of us this is a new concept. We never even considered that our workplaces weren’t whole. Most of us don’t even know what working in wholeness is like because our workplaces lack sufficient women across all roles and management levels to experience it. And even when there are women, women do as they were taught – they suppress their natural female traits in favor of male traits.
As a result all of our workplaces are underperforming.
To improve workplace performance requires empowering female traits. And it requires women’s leadership to do so. Only empowered women can lead the male-dominated workplace from its current state to greater performance and achievement.
The workplaces that understand this will be the leaders in the 21st century. They will be the ones who effectively manage ever increasing complexity and interdependency.
Using my experience, I teach women how to apply their female traits in their workplaces so they in turn can lead their workplaces to greater performance and achievement.
I also use this website to discuss many of the issues women face working in a male environment that hold them back from asserting themselves and leading. I discuss issues using my actual experience and from the perspective of “Been there, dealt with that and this is what I did that worked.”
This website is meant to push all of us beyond our current thinking and comfort zones. However it is women who have to make the first paradigm change. We have to accept that we are one half of the whole and our female traits are equal to and every bit as powerful and necessary to workplace success as male traits. The male-dominated workplace needs us to achieve this before it has any real hope of changing.
To begin your understanding of the power of female traits read Pink, Blue and Purple.
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