Women are Bringing it Home on The Entrepreneurship.

If you want to know what women are up to on the high seas of the business world these days don’t bother looking for mermaids. Try, ‘Aye, Aye Captain!’ You’ll find an increasing number of women in key roles as CEOs and entrepreneurs. The HuffPost reported on October 31st 2017 that women entrepreneurs were driving economic growth and that globally, from 2015 to 2016, women entrepreneurship rates had increased by double that of their male counterparts. Trail blazers such as Arianna Huffington, (founder of HuffPost) Beyoncé, Cher Wang (co-founder of HTC), Denise Coates (founder of Bet365), Oprah Winfrey and Gina Rinehart (chairman of Hancock Prospecting Group mining company) can boast a net worth ranging from $50 million up to $11.7 billion and have become household names. (https://wealthygorilla.com/15-most-famous-female-entrepreneurs/) These women are self-starting, courageous and ready to explore and take on new challenges, taking ownership and responsibility for designing, shaping and driving products and processes and inspiring everyone along the way.  We’re talking leaders not managers, who are in their turn making leadership a reality and accessible to anyone, rather than being limited to a male elite.

In fact, as architects and instigators of change, women might just have a certain edge when it comes to entrepreneurial, inspirational leadership. Impacting the thoughts and feelings of others as a platform for influencing their behaviour, encouraging people to learn, retain and act on something new comes through great communication which relies on (amongst other things) an ability to express and control your emotions…

Have you ever come across the commonly held belief that women are…

1. More emotional than men… or at least that they are …

2. More inclined to show emotion than men.

and so…

3. Women’s decisions and behaviours are more influenced by their emotions…

and that…

4. A leader who can control their emotions is able to make more rational, objective decisions…

…and is…

5. A better leader…

…and therefore…

6. A man…?

Never mind the fact that research in neuroscience has demonstrated that emotional connectedness aids in sound reasoning and effective decision-making rather than detracting from it (Bliss-Moreau & Barrett, 2009; Damasio, 2005; Seo & Barrett, 2007).

https://icos.umich.edu/sites/default/files/lecturereadinglists/Leading_with_their_Hearts-Brescoll%20%282016%29%20Leadership%20Quarterly.pdf

So, according to this research, and if it’s true that women are better at connecting with their emotions, might women be particularly well placed in the arena of decision making, reasoning and other pre-requisites for effective leadership?

How about this as an alternative paradigm:

1. Women connect easily with their emotions as well as being rational and objective…

2. Effective decisions can be made by great leaders…

…who happen to be…

3. Women

I would add to this that, as an entrepreneurial leader, getting the most out of your interactions with individuals and groups within your organisation requires a certain emotional intelligence and the ability to appear human. Coming over as stable, level-headed, rational, consistent, tough-minded, and not taking things personally are all great assets but are these traits enough? How do you get people to really connect with your ideas and your passion?

Great communication is the ability to express and control emotion at the same time. This is what happens with an actor whilst performing. All of the coaches at Personal Presentation are former professional performers, and we specialise in teaching people in key leadership roles to learn to engage with their emotions and project them. When there is a disconnect between the individual and their audience, whatever the situation, from public speaking engagements to negotiations, the ability to lead, influence and inspire others can be poleaxed by a purely rational, intellectual approach. Our influence derives from how people feel about themselves in our presence. We work to give leaders the tools they need to impact the thoughts and feelings of others as a platform for influencing their behaviours.

Charismatic leaders, both men and women, are by definition strong communicators and have the power to move us. The good news is that anyone can learn the process of communicating well, the power to move the speaker as well as the audience into a space of change, where anything becomes possible. We can bring together our head, heart and body, connecting to our feelings which underpin the articulation of our thoughts. At Personal Presentation we teach people to engage at an emotional level with their message and then, using the whole of themselves to articulate and express it, the message becomes crystallised, embodied and embedded. It becomes alive and takes root in the hearts and minds not just of the listeners but of the speaker as well.  We define ourselves through expressing ourselves, including what we believe in, stand for and commit to.

Three decades of experience of working with entrepreneurs and leaders has shown us that being able to communicate well is a crucial determinant of success, equally as important in a leadership context as technical ability or aptitude for rational decision making. We continue to enjoy the privilege of helping many people each year to improve in their communication.

Julia will be running a masterclass with BAWE members (British Association of Women Entrepreneurs) on 24th October 2019.