I am a woman. A woman who has become a leader. Not just a leader of a direct team, but also of a company. I became a vice president and I stand beside my partners in the most important and difficult decisions that we need to make on a daily basis. Specially in times of a pandemic.
I have been in this position for a few years now, and when I look back, I think that I never really wanted to be here. I never wanted to be here because the stereotype of female leadership was, for me, accompanied by images of women in social and super elegant clothes, high stiletto heels, and attitudes as or even more aggressive than some male leaders I met out there.
Nothing against stiletto heels and elegant social clothes, but that was never me. That never fit me. Besides, aggressive attitudes are unacceptable.
I always had a hard time understanding why people who led others in the corporate environment often had no idea what the word empathy meant. And, as a result, they necessarily became rather mediocre leaders.
In this context, I believe that, even unconsciously, I stayed away from being a leader because I thought that this combo of things that did not serve me would come together. However, in the agency where I have been working for almost 11 years, I have found a place of leadership that fits me. A place that fits me like a piece of clothing that makes me feel comfortable.
I believe this happened because in this place I was able to exercise my role as a leader without giving up my role as a human being. As a woman. With all the fears, uncertainties, experiences, and also with my firmness when necessary. Yes, a woman can be firm without losing her gentleness. So can a man.
Seeing everyhting that has been happening in the world and putting a specific lens on leadership, it does not impress me that the countries that have had the most positive results in fighting COVID-19 are led by women. Not because I believe that women are better leaders than men, but because I believe that sensitive and empathetic leadership – so necessary at this time in the world – is viscerally female.
Female leadership has, above all, courage. And do you know what courage means? Acting with the heart! Yes, with the heart. The heart, figuratively speaking, is the one that holds our deepest feelings and sensations. It is the one who puts us in the other's place and who allows us to love, care, watch over, protect and to wish the best.
It is through the heart that leaders should and must communicate. Not through the mouth, but through the heart. Allowing the vulnerability to be perceived by their followers without fear and that the uncertainties connect us in the deepest sense of what it is to be human. It helps understand that the words spoken and the attitudes taken are the fruit of love. This has always been my "model" of leadership. And I am very happy to see it becoming more and more relevant today and in the near future.
As a part of the song by the brilliant Emicida says, "So, is it all in vain? Banal? For no reason?
It would be. Yes, it would be if it weren't for love. Love cares with affection, breathes the other, creates the link. It is certain in uncertainty. As simple as a grain of sand. It confuses the powerful at every moment... Love is decision, attitude. Much more than a feeling".
The good news is that everyone possesses a heart, it is from it that love is born! <3