Why women tend to be masculinised in today’s companies’ structures?
It is clear that leadership in companies is still stereotypically male: usually, the top management rewards those characteristics that we expect men to have:
- Ability to dominate
Why did this happen? Because most probably, the corporate structure was born in a patriarchal or paternalistic society and was created according to the military organisational model. This model was the only one that worked and was widely accepted by the male community.
This structure was consolidated at a time when women were massively excluded from military and managerial life.
The same organisational language often refers, directly or indirectly, to war. Have you ever noticed these expressions?
“Competitive attack”, “price war”, “take-over”, “action plan”, etc.
Today, women are increasingly ready to take the leadership of companies or governments, still often conform to this male leadership model—denying their femininity, which is very powerful.
Why is it essential to recover the feminine traits?
Because NOW is the time. Women need to express themselves in all their creative power, maintaining their identity and rejecting obsolete behaviour patterns.
Following a female (and not exclusively male) model, female leadership creates new forms of organisation, processes, structures, technologies, and, above all, new values.
But why then do women, who become leaders in companies, behave a little less like women? It is probably because, to gain managerial positions, they think they have to follow those considered successful and purely male behaviours.
In reality, for any organisation’s success in the current historical period (be it corporate or governmental), it no longer makes sense to distinguish the two elements of masculinity and femininity as opposites. Instead, we should consider them as two polarities of a single entity.
Five Characteristic Feminine Traits
What are the intrinsic characteristics of the feminine trait? We can simplify and define five:
- Embrace: women know how to welcome and take care of the people she loves, the people in the community and so on, whether they are men or women, and know how to ‘nurture’ them. The values of love and sharing inspire her actions. See also the Vesta archetype.
- Creativity: women can create an impact, both physically and emotionally, in the short and especially in the long term. She takes actions by instinct and intuition, guided by intellectual knowledge and acquired skills.
- Perseverance: women are tenacious, patient and loving, like a mother who guides her children and works tenaciously for the well-being of all—feelings of resilience guide her actions.
- Empathy: women can connect emotionally with other people, can establish bonds, even at a distance, and create lasting relationships. They tend to seek harmony and well-being in all situations.
- Practicality: women are capable of ingenuity and can find practical solutions to everyday problems. Ancient organisational skills (managing home and all related activities) guide her actions.
Today, it makes sense to recover these five characteristics and use them as powerful tools to build modern leadership that is also highly effective and profitable.
We don’t need any more masculinised women leaders. The time for conforming to old patriarchal standards is over.
Women have excellent interpersonal skills, making them more democratic than men because they create participative working environments.
They know how to defuse tensions within the team. They also know how to “calm” the minds of those collaborators and colleagues who are not used to female leadership and therefore question skills and competence.
Leaders Without Using Power
Another winning feature of modern female leadership is that women can be leaders without using power: women have often had to climb the career ladder without using power, either because they did not have it or because it was not socially accepted.
If women embraced their feminine traits completely, this characteristic would be even more evident and compelling.
In various aspects of leadership, women have an advantage over men, so why continue to act like men when we can make full use of these skills?
Energising, aligning, outward-looking, expressing emotional intelligence, rewarding and giving feedback, team building, being tenacious are all typical aspects of women and winning leadership characteristics. It is a fact.
If the system remains based on male values, women tend to ‘masculinise’ themselves to get ahead. If, on the other hand, women turn the tables and use their skills consciously, then they can change the system and set up different organisations and structures.
And we all gain because these organisations are socially oriented, which is the key to the success of any organisation in our time, especially given the profound global change we are experiencing.
Women vs Women
Gender stereotypes are still widespread; their effects are persistent and extend to all levels and situations.
So it is crazy that women create these conditions of toxic masculinity and continue to imitate and perpetrate obsolete male behaviour.
A recent study claims that more than 70% of women say they feel bullied by their female colleagues.
Thus, not only do women embrace old, masculine patterns of behaviour, but they also prefer to crash other women (68% female targets, 32% male targets).
Women, more than men, exert overwhelming pressure on each other to appear ‘successful’, so to speak and are strongly allied with men in power.
These considerations show how many women are complicit in perpetuating the patriarchal order. The only way out is to break free from this mental conditioning and liberate our feminine nature. To do this, we must first be aware of these mechanisms (mental, emotional and social).
- Have women been poorly treated compared to men? Yes.
- Are they generally less violent than men? Yes.
- Have women contributed to this situation? Yes.
- Are women victims? They are only victims of themselves.
I think we have to work on ourselves to recover our identity and our feminine energy.
We should not take behaviour patterns and expressions for granted. We need to analyse our environment and our condition. Nor we have to take it for granted that we are women.
Let’s find out what it means and enhance our feminine traits to reorganise the company, and society, and the world.
If you want to work in a place free from gender stereotypes, please register for these Free Workshops, which explain how you can get free from old social conditioning and grow and thrive in the digital economy.
Andrea Granelli and Odile Robotti, articles in Harvard Business Review Italy