Feminine Leadership: Conflict Resolution

I have coached hundreds of women professionals who have been hurt in business. I learned that at one time or another, we all faced a common breakdown – a loss of dignity. Our standards of treatment were not met, our boundaries crossed or violated, leaving us in disappointed.

Our feminine essence is as precious as Mother Nature herself. We are the givers of life. We birth babies and work projects. We love our teams with heart. When our receptive offer of caring, collides with masculine indifference, it becomes easy to blame men.

Enlightened women know that blaming anyone won’t serve us in the long run. The only thing that will serve us over time is to gain more competence at clarifying and maintaining our standards, earlier and with ease. This occurs when we learn to make more accurate assessments about the man we are dealing with, the situation at hand, clarify our concerns and then make effective requests in ways that get heard and acted upon. An “effective” request is one that addresses both parties concerns, not just ours.  This requires “intel” on our part.  Man intel that lets us know what their primary concerns are.  In this way, we approach each situation with wisdom and compassion. Is this easy? Yes and no. Like any new competency, it takes a commitment to learn how to become more effective and produce new results.

I became committed to harmonizing masculine and feminine conversations after my divorce. It was important for me to have a cooperative relationship with my former husband to support my young daughter. I wanted to be a role model that she would admire. This was a difficult journey for me so I employed a coach to work with me through my beginning stages of learning.  I was a slow learner and resistant.  My ways of parenting permeated my thinking as well as every cell in my body.  I was right and he was wrong. Period.  This thinking only produced failed attempts at teamwork.   I was 100% committed however, to listen to my former husband, from his frame of reference, separate from mine. This created brand new possibilities. Once I “stepped into a man’s shoes” I saw our situation from a new perspective. My “beliefs” about men changed radically.  I accepted some fundamental differences in our concerns for security for our daughter.  These victories invited me to look at all men with a new advantage.

I saw how one man would light up when I acknowledged him holding a door open for me. And, how another man at a grocery store smiled when I acknowledged how quickly he could find the item I needed. I saw their need for acknowledgement as fundamental to their nature, without judgement.

I hear reports daily about women having breakthrough after breakthrough, when women begin to dig deeper and learn what is important to men. I coach my women clients to stop, gather intel, before attempting to resolve a conflict. For example, just ask something like, “What was on your mind when you said no to Joe’s request? What were you aiming to achieve?” These answers may surprise you. Often a man’s thoughts are simple. Nothing like what was our mind. Performing well is central to a man’s identity in the world.  When we empathize and embody this core need of men, we begin to gain new competencies that will produce new results and lasting harmony.

If you are committed to gaining competence with men at work, home or play, declare that you can over and over. Start listening to how men operate from a man’s experience in the world. Hire a competent coach if you are really stuck, like I was. You will embark on a journey that will restore your power with men and make you a role model for other woman and young girls everywhere.

Patty Shull

Patty Shull is an organizational change consultant and talent manager who develops key competencies in others to achieve business results. She uses creative and leading edge approaches to mentor leaders in making effective transitions. Her extensive experience includes global Fortune 100, non-profit, entrepreneurial, and government organizations. She is known for designing programs to develop leadership talent, speed organizational changes, mitigate risks, and turn employee resistance to employee commitment.

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