Welcome to TL;DR (Tracy’s Latest Discussion Recap). We’re keeping you up to date on thought leadership from Tracy Lawrence, CEO & Co-Founder of Chewse. Today’s topic: how feminity can be a superpower for female leaders – not a weakness.
We’re just going to go out and say it: a lot of people equate femininity with weakness.
That’s a pretty crappy sentence, but there’s no use pretending it isn’t the turth. After all, if we can’t acknowledge reality, how are we going to be able to fix it?
The truth is, femininity can be incredibly powerful and can elevate you as a business leader, mentor, and employee. The fear of being “too feminine” has held countless women back over the years. There’s this misconception in the business world that “strong” business leaders need to be emotionless people willing to play hard ball and never showing their true emotions. We’ve talked previously about how we think vulnerability is a key to leadership success, but specifically, for female leaders, femininity can be another driving factor.
Finding your femininity
Our CEO, Tracy Lawrence, struggled with femininity when she first started Chewse. Tracy was so worried about being “too feminine” when she first went out to fundraise for Chewse that she even too preventative steps before the fundraising. In her own words:
“When I was nervous about my first round of fundraising as a business leader, I tried to fit in with the (mostly male) venture capitalists by cutting my hair and wearing Converse sneakers. For many women, that would be the right style – but it’s not mine. Instead of fitting in, it only made me stick out more. I wasn’t being myself, and it showed in my presentations.”
Feeling like yourself and leading authentically can help you push your business further and faster. In fact, authentic leadership makes employees happier at work and increases trust and performance in the office. This isn’t to say that you have to “be girly” to be authentic. If you are – great! We encourage you to embrace it and fold your femininity into your leadership style. If that’s not you? That’s totally ok too.
“Just because you are a woman doesn’t mean you embody these traditional feminine qualities, not to mention the many men… [can be] compassionate, empathetic listeners. The point is that we as individuals come to an acceptance of what our leadership style looks like, instead of seeing our best traits as weaknesses.”
So, female leaders: be yourself!
So, today, we’d like to encourage you to be yourself and lead in a way that’s true to the real you. If, like so many women, you’re afraid of being feminine because you think it’ll make you weak, we hope this will be the wake up call to try to turn that voice in your head off. At the very least, ignore it when you can – because your feminine qualities may be your biggest asset!
That’s what Tracy found, when she let herself be herself.
“I used to judge myself for how much of a heart I had, and I wondered why I couldn’t be more of an asshole to drive results… [But] a leader who can self-regulate, demonstrate empathy, and show compassion toward her employees is one who can motivate a team and grow a company in healthy, sustainable ways that lead to long-term success. When I tried to hide these traits in myself and to emulate a “male” leadership style, it left me feeling frustrated and inauthentic.”
All of this to say – you do you girl! Find your superpower (whatever that means for you) and stop trying to be something you’re not.
“The idea that women are the “weaker sex” has been perpetuated for ages. But our compassion, our empathy, our warmth — these are not weaknesses. They’re superpowers.”
To read how you can embrace and unlock your feminine leadership, read more from Tracy here.