Men and women both possess masculine and feminine qualities and each person lands within a range on the spectrum. Having the ability to harness both masculine and feminine qualities makes you a stronger leader and a more effective team member. For example, if you want to build relationships within a team stepping into the feminine is helpful. If you need to create order and structure within the team utilizing masculine traits may be the archetype needed. Each of us has default tendencies, which are typically related to our gender identity. Where each person falls on the scale is adaptable and dynamic. No matter how you identify, finding a balance between feminine and masculine can be helpful in all aspects of your life.
The past paradigm was to lead predominantly through masculinity. Times have changed and in today's reality this kind of leadership is not the most effective. Society has evolved beyond strict adherence to the role of whatever gender we were born into. We are now moving into a balanced dynamism which integrates masculine and feminine traits in each individual. Having the ability to access both qualities creates multidimensionality and greater adaptability.
It is important to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy masculinity and femininity. By understanding the toxic qualities of each you are better able to apply the healthy aspects and mitigate the unhealthy aspects. Developing self-awareness puts you in greater control of the intended outcome. Having awareness enables you to be able to adjust where needed and incorporate more of the effective parts of both dynamics. The impact of being versatile with your approach will have a positive effect professionally and permeate your personal interactions.
Masculine qualities include structure and planning, taking action, risk-taking, competitiveness, protectiveness, and being assertive. Masculine traits get things done! This means the plan is usually direct and structured, where everyone knows their role and what they need to accomplish. When a person uses masculine traits without balancing them with feminine traits they may come off as aggressive, uncaring, and demanding.
Feminine qualities include being receptive, caring for team members, understanding the needs of the consumer that the brand serves, speaking effectively, flexibility, listening to intuition, and patience. Femininity is heart-centered! This means they have good relationships with their vendors and are a positive influence on team members, they have a good line on their customers and therefore can build a strong product, and are adaptable. When a person uses feminine traits without balancing them with masculine traits they can come across as passive, indecisive, and indirect.
What are your predominant masculine and feminine traits? And what qualities would you like to incorporate to help you be more successful? The chart below offers additional characteristics of masculine and feminine traits.
A note to women:
Part of the issue in the past has been that women in business stepped into a man's world and felt they needed to be more masculine to succeed. This disconnect made for unhealthy interactions and internal discord. The misnomer was that in order to be strong and powerful a woman would have to embody masculine attributes. Women can be just as fierce without having to be something they are not. You can set boundaries, garner authority, and embody confidence without compromising your femininity.