Feminine leadership - what it is and what it offers to bosses and staff: Karen Heras-Kelly

Feminine Leadership is associated with traditional feminine traits and values such as empathy, collaboration, communication, and emotional intelligence.

It includes intuition, creativity, relationship building, inclusiveness and has a focus on personal growth and wellbeing, and a more holistic approach to decision-making. It provides a different perspective to masculine leadership traits like assertiveness and competitiveness.

The Coaching Training Institute, who trained me, says that Feminine Leadership is not gender-specific and applies to all leaders. I wholeheartedly agree.

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Through my work with Heineken Mexico, I was lucky enough to work with a senior team made up of mostly men and one woman, to deepen their relationships, and connect to their deepest longings.

Karen Heras-Kelly explains the benefits of a feminine leadership styleKaren Heras-Kelly explains the benefits of a feminine leadership style
Karen Heras-Kelly explains the benefits of a feminine leadership style

This brief was to connect and lift them out of their usual everyday interactions.

The CEO wanted his team to feel and consider different ways to engage. We put a lot of emphasis on deepening their relationships within themselves, with nature and each other.

This work was about connecting this team of incredible leaders to feminine energy.

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It involved time in nature, visualisations, and honest in-the-moment feedback, followed by change making commitments.

It connected being and doing.

They slowed down, listened to the woodpeckers knocking on the trees and agreed to have more “walk and talk” meetings.

In my work with amazing companies like Consumer Health’s division of Bayer, whose brands include Aspirin, Berocca, Rennie and Canesten - I’m called to readdress the balance for women, supporting them to elevate and inspire. It’s also about finding a sense of greater balance inside and with others, which supports wellbeing.

Through my work as Feminine Leadership Coach, I’ve discovered that many feel the need to adopt unhealthy masculine forms of leadership, which generally lead to frustration, unfulfilled living, and unfortunately burnout.

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Communication on all levels is also impacted and many fear speaking truthfully, this has a huge impact on wellbeing, and business.

Feminine leadership inspires people to slow down and listen, to be courageous and be seen in different ways and to be truly authentic.

This opens up the space between us and builds trust.

The arc of feminine equality may be a long one and we still have a long way to go in areas like visibility, promotion and pay.

Yet, I feel we have reached a time of greater openness, not everyone will want to jump in and that’s ok.

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We are still moving towards a time of greater interest in what the feminine has to offer to us personally, professional, and collaboratively.

This is where great change happens, businesses, brands, communities, and our world are waiting.

It’s time to put feminine leadership at the heart of business.

This is an everyday practice that involves slowing down, listening, and responding.

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The way to do this is to do deeper work with those interested in creating more balance within their businesses, and teams.

Karen Heras-Kelly is a Certified Professional Business coach who lives in Leeds.

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