As a woman, we know that we’re the nurturer. Whether it’s through motherhood, taking care of a family member, or being a dog-mom, instinctively we have this characteristic. The frustration for many of us comes from the notion that because we’re the more emphatic gender, we’re weaker. That having a nurturing heart makes a woman more likely to get her feelings hurt, or unable to handle negotiations and high stress situations. What we’ve seen demonstrated time and time again, is that feminine attributes actually aid us in being a powerhouse. And, if men utilize these feminine attributes as well, they too can knock out their competition.
Betty-Ann Heggie’s latest blog post dives into this at a business level – looking at how, with wavering support and feelings towards our leaders, businesses still manage to maintain a sense of trust and support among customers. As business leaders, it’s important that these people not only understand their customer, but work to keep them. I know in my own day-to-day experiences, a manager (or sometimes the person hired as the social media voice behind a Twitter account) with very masculine characteristics will make me bristle, whereas a person with more feminine characteristics will give me more positive feelings about the brand. I don’t know the gender behind the email account or Twitter handle, only how they come across. Interesting, don’t you think?
Consider a recent interaction I had with a business about items they were selling in their stores that I didn’t think were appropriate. I posted on Twitter, and their response could have gone one of two ways. A response with Masculine Energy would be one direct and to the point. “We will look into this,” or “Thank you for letting us know.” Instead, the response showed concern, empathy, and a statement showing they wanted to resolve the issue. This is a demonstration of Feminine Energy.
After this exchange, I was left feeling positive about Shell and regardless of the final result (I haven’t checked back), I felt that my concerns were heard and that as a customer I mattered.
This approach also works beyond the business and marketing world and applies in our own households as well. Many households are like my own – mom is the one more likely to talk through a child’s feelings when they’re freaking out and get to the root issue (when my 6 year old is having a meltdown over her shoes, it’s not about the shoes, it’s because she had an argument with her sister earlier that afternoon and everything is elevated by that point). In contrast, in our household dad would be the one to decide my daughter is tired or misbehaving and threaten a loss of iPad time.
It’s a very clear and sometimes amusing demonstration of Gender Physics right before my eyes. Consider the difference in parenting if dad could demonstrate more feminine attributes and listen rather than react, nurture rather than punish. It’s something we both work on in our household. I, myself, could benefit from adapting more masculine attributes when negotiating with a potential client (as a woman, I lean on being too nice, and not aggressive enough when showing my value). As with most things in life, it’s about balance and knowing when to lean on one side of the scale more than the other.
Betty Ann’s full blog post can be found on her (recently made over) blog here, and it’s great food for thought within your own business exchanges or household (which can sometimes feel like a boardroom!) Now, I’m asking you to share your examples of either a great experience with a brand or business when the right approach made all the difference, or perhaps an example in your own family where utilizing a more feminine approach got the results you were looking for! To thank you for your thoughts, you’ll be entered to win a $100 Visa gift card!