Many female leaders mistakenly try to balance the shortcomings of dominant leadership by “over-relying” on their passive leadership tools such as empathy and collaboration. But getting people together to figure out what their Primary Vision is and what it needs, can easily lead to more confusion.
It can also weaken the power of women who may be misplacing their emotional intelligence when it’s their practical intelligence that will really make the difference.
However, a new style leader needs to demonstrate their Real Deal Power and cut through the confusion by constantly “simplifying the complexities” that are presented.
- She is able to articulate the big picture and the necessary priorities using an array of simple directive statements, not commands or demands, but rather discerning and objective distinctions.
- She always links her actions to the urgent needs of the project at hand and the culture of the company or team.
- She can articulate the strategic plans of the project as clearly as a CEO.
- She states what must be done immediately and has a question such as, “Does it make sense to you all that we replace our program development reviews with short, biweekly feedback sessions since people need a constant flow of coaching to stay focused on emerging priorities?”
And it’s wise to remember not to open any of these clarifying questions with a “Why”, because this can often imply that there is a level of judgment present and may bring about even more confusion.
This technique of making recommendations in the form of a question consistently raises her position of effective power. Her questions frame the discussion and contain compelling “if-then and what next” logic. It also helps her not fall into the trap of either complaining about or insisting on a change she wants to make.
This technique is not trivial.
There is plenty of research that confirms when women try to exert power using the same techniques as dominant males they actually reduce their power and influence and become labeled as “overly aggressive or worse…”
To sum it up, if we want to increase our power girls, we need to simplify confusion, clarify priorities, and lead people to follow us by asking them the appropriate “what’s next” or “where next” questions.
Above all adopt a real deal leadership approach. Don’t wait for orders and don’t spend your life trying to achieve other people’s goals.