I think most of us can agree that we need more women in leadership positions. But what we don’t talk about enough in arenas of power is HOW women should lead.
Up to this point in our world development, most of the leadership we have seen is masculine in nature. It is defined by and evolved from white, patriarchal systems. It reinforces hierarchy, white supremacy and gender discrimination.
How often do we get to see examples of women leading in the feminine? Leading as themselves, with an eye toward real equality and transformation of larger systems?
Most leadership programs I see are rooted in patriarchal principles. Women are taught to lead within the same old masculine framework and to operate in a way that is often misaligned with their true nature and their intrinsic gifts.
It is LONG past time for a new framework, and I have some ideas…
Over the years I have developed and evolved a new philosophy of leadership for women.
I call this new way to lead Intrinsic Leadership™.
I define Intrinsic Leadership as leadership that embodies moral and ethical courage by being true to one’s essential self and nature.
Intrinsic Leaders lead with truth, integrity, congruity and wisdom. They don’t have to “do” anything to lead; they lead by example, by who they are “being”.
By being true to themselves they not only lead by example – they give others permission to lead as themselves too.
Intrinsic Leaders also eliminate the burnout and exhaustion that happens when we are made to constantly operate outside of our true nature – which is exactly what happens to so many women when they try to squeeze themselves into masculine forms of leadership.
Women have amazing gifts and innate wisdom that has often been downplayed and suppressed in traditional leadership roles. I believe this is why the world is so imbalanced.
We need more emotion and empathy in every form of leadership. We need women who are connected to their intuition and wisdom, not just their rational thinking. We need people operating in their natural cycles rather than operating in constant, unnatural motion and progression.
Intrinsic leadership allows for all of these things. It is about being exactly who you are. That takes ethical and moral courage.
Unlike so many leadership philosophies, intrinsic leadership…
Isn’t about being perfect, but about being real.
Isn’t about being right, but about being just.
Isn’t about being better or worse than others, but about being uniquely yourself.
Isn’t about influencing others, but about being an inspiration to others.
Isn’t about being an expert or telling people what to do, but about offering a perspective others can relate to.
Trying to constantly perform “leadership” in the traditional sense means you are always putting on a costume. It is exhausting and requires you to always be stretching your capacity, your energy, and your resources to keep up with the game.
This means we are ALWAYS under-resourced and struggling with capacity. We don’t have an excess of resources for the things we are NOT. But we DO have excess resources of our innate strengths, gifts and wisdom. Being ourselves doesn’t require effort or energy. Fighting against ourselves does.
It can feel difficult to be ourselves. Like a muscle, we have to build it. For so many of us, we have lost the connection to our real selves and this means that muscle is weak. It can be a challenge to build trust in ourselves and learn to be who we are, regardless of what the outside world does or says. But after we build that muscle, we have excess resources deep inside of us that will help us lead.
I have spent decades embodying this practice. And yes, it is a practice. Living in our courage and working to be ourselves both in and out of the limelight is a challenge in today’s world, but it is so worth the effort.
The more I have flexed my courage muscle, the more opportunity I have had to lead.
That is why we need more women to step into Intrinsic Leadership, share their gifts with the world and take up the leadership roles that were always meant for them.