Could ‘feminine leadership’ be your competitive advantage?


What people really honour today is transparency.
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As we enter 2023 there is a renewed sense of hope and optimism for greater growth, increased profitability and efficiency amongst a great number of Australian businesses despite a large number of challenges Australians are facing today. According to 2023 Business Leaders Outlook: Australia raising inflation, dealing with cyber security risks, cautiousness of recession, supply chain issues and acquiring and retaining talent are our top concerns this year.

It is safe to say that in recent years the leadership capacities of people at all levels of decision making have been stretched to the limits. The degree of unprecedented uncertainty became a norm to navigate for Australians. Pandemic was a humbling experience for most of us which at the same time provided a vast majority of corporate and business leaders with an opportunity to discover new horizons where resilience, creativity and agility are concerned, as well as a chance to reinvent themselves.

In many cases old workplace and business structures could no longer be sustained and there was a need for new leadership approaches to come forward and to face the challenges with flexibility and adaptation.

Work life and flexibility are top employment drivers

DCA‘s national representative survey of Australian employees has shown that companies that fail to keep up with community expectations about key issues like work-life balance and respectful and inclusive workplaces are at risk of lower productivity and higher staff turnover.

Flexibility is more important for parents – it is the top employment driver (50% for parents vs 39% non-parents)

55% of women who had no paid parental leave were ‘very likely’ to make a genuine effort to look for another job versus 26% of women on full paid parental leave.

One could debate whether prolonged social isolation restrictions in recent years contributed to greater appreciation of human connection both in workplaces and at homes, or has the world simply changed irreversibly and so has our perspective on what truly matters to us?

Masculine leadership tendencies have been predominant in corporate and business arenas for many decades fueling the association of success and productivity exclusively with the need for authority, directionality, decisiveness, an unapologetic drive towards achieving KPIs and focus on strategy on its own and in many cases at all cost.

Whilst all those elements are critical to the viability of any professional ecosystem, the perspective of what it takes to be able to walk the distance and to reach your final destination has taken an entirely new shape.

In times of crisis we recognised that there is a new path to achieving both,  overcoming adversity when necessary and to achieving desired outcomes sustainably. This new way of being, thinking and action taking is grounded in feminine leadership nature.

The fact is that feminine qualities are complementary to masculine traits and it is only when we strategically and intentionally draw from both polarised pools of skills and approaches we become extraordinarily equipped and wholesomely integrated leaders. Only then can we stand tall in our values and face any circumstances effectively whilst honouring the most important asset in any workplace (and home!) – its people.

In opposition to what we consider as masculine attributes, feminine distinctions are: immersion in the process which allows for inclusion and togetherness, heart-led communication, emphasis on quality of relationships, environment which fosters belonging, and a desire to experience a sense of connection to all important ingredients of the process i.e. vision, purpose, people, benefits and to self.

Some of the most potent elements of feminine leadership which many men and women (that’s right! Men and Women poses both, feminine and masculine constitutions) in decision making are implementing in their behavioural and operational repertoire with a great success today are:

Emphasis on developing aligned relationships with kindness, empathy and trust

That’s one idea to dissolve debilitating loneliness which many people experience today.

Creating sustainable support structures and strategic alliances in personal and professional circles

Achieving de-stigmatisation of mental health issues amongst leaders at all the of decision making is critical to the wellbeing of all Australians.

An ability to communicate vulnerability in productive manner

What people really honour today is transparency. Marrying vulnerability with confidence is more visible today in the workplaces thankfully to the extensive work of Brene Brown.

The importance of emotional connection to self and others

Emotional dissociation causes self-sabotage and unwanted toxicity even though it is a natural coping mechanism for us. The most potent factor of ‘being connected’ is awareness.


This process relates to the integration of all facets of one’s identity: emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. It gives birth to taking a radical responsibility for the quality of our results and enables one to powerfully and magnetically ‘own their presence’ in any environment.

Given that the market is more dynamic in 2023 then it has ever been before we are faced with an opportunity to utilise a rhythmic combination of feminine and masculine values to meet uncertainty with authority and universal unity.  Connection is of paramount importance for it ignites inspiration.

Simon Sinek once said, “Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.”

And I would say, “People will never love the leader, until the leader loves themselves first.”

Ela Staniak is a Feminine Leadership Coach & Corporate Speaker

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