What To Do When You Don’t Fit The Gender Stereotype

Emma Watson’s recent speech on gender equality at the United Nations is not a complete answer to this very complicated issue, but I was so glad to hear it. Finally, the conversation around gender equality is sounding not like women trying to be men, but about equal honour, equal opportunity, equal respect, for both men and women and the things that make us different.

Because we are different, right? As women and men, and also as individuals.

This message is particularly important to me, and the message of BOLD leadership, because I am all about empowering leaders to step in to their authentic and unique strengths. Boldness is not personality. It is not being the loudest, pushiest, most obnoxious person in the room. Boldness is embracing your authentic and unique strengths, and knowing how to strategically use them to exact maximum impact and influence.

If you are a female leader, BOLD leadership means being feminine, however that looks for you. Embrace your emotional intelligence, intuition, creativity, and relational strengths. And don’t be afraid to wield them with authority. That doesn’t mean being dramatic and emotional. It means being willing to show your vulnerabilities in a mature, grounded and articulate way.

If you are a male leader, know that women need you. We need your strength, your focus, your view of the world. We also need you to give space for our voice, and for the sometimes unpredictable, non-linear direction of our thoughts. We need space for innovation, creativity and relational connection, and we need you to join us in the exploration of all of that.

And if you are a leader who doesn’t fit the traditional gender stereotypes (even the ones I’ve just described above), that’s okay too. Be you. When you honour your strengths, and the strengths of those around you, you will be on your way to a far greater level of influence and authority in your leadership.

My program, Be Bold and Beautiful, is a 6-part solution that helps women to navigate this issue of femininity in leadership, by calling out limiting mindsets, identifying your unique strengths and purpose, and articulating your story in a way that attracts loyal, raving followers. If you’re interested in knowing more, send me a note and we’ll chat!


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