Emotional Intelligence for successful millennial women
Like soul singer James Brown said “this is a man’s world but it [would be] nothing without a woman or a girl”. Besides the very literal understanding that women bring forth and nurture life in the world through pregnancy, child birth and child rearing, the very essence of woman is what drives entire nations to either thrive or fail. As Tian Wei so rightfully said, “any society that fails to harness the energy and creativity of its women is at a huge disadvantage in the modern world”. Masculine energy (not to be confused with male energy) is powered by doing, pursuing and hunting; whereas feminine energy is governed by feeling of a thing, nurturing, self- expression and care.
Men and women possess, at variant levels, both masculine and feminine energies. Obviously, women typically possess higher feminine energy and men typically possess higher masculine energy. A woman’s natural feminine qualities make her unique in creation. In a world so heavily governed by the natural and innate core qualities of the masculine energy, where does that leave the woman whose feminine traits are as essential to her mental state of being, her self-perception and her perception of the world around her?
Women have been known to possess razor sharp instincts (so trust them). I speculate it is because women have the primal responsibility of protecting young children they birth thus are wired with an innate sensitivity to the underlining understanding of things around her, both seen and unseen, physical and non-physical. Nonetheless, trust them. When women take hold of positions of power predominately held by men, she can oftentimes find herself in a dance between feminine and masculine energies- caught up in a web of self-perception and projection of what it means to be a “boss” and to be “in charge” and to get things done. Losing herself along the way can occur at higher rates than would her male counterparts in the same work environment, thus it is imperative that women, especially millennial women harness the emotional intelligence tools to stay grounded within their true identity self.
Emotional intelligence, in terms of how effective leaders manage their negative thoughts and emotions, can be expressed in different ways between the sexes. We speak an average of 60,000 words each day, but humans have an inner voice of thoughts that can express thoughts and feelings of doubt, criticism, optimism, risk measurement; these are unspoken words.
Unspoken words can be sub-communicated through energy and body language. Seventy percent of communication is through body language, so just try and imagine how different men and women express a number of variations of the same thought. In a world where most women leaders are taking up leadership positions in spaces that were never once held by women in the decades before them, these new women leaders have to navigate a new terrain.
Children have been taught at early ages that emotional expression is a sign of weakness whereas something such as holding in tears as a child should be rewarded. These are primarily what is deemed as masculine traits that we force our children to adhere to rather than teaching them how to master their emotions and express them constructively. There is no doubt that with this philosophy of emotional-repression, the girl child would put forth more of an effort to be seen as dogged and stern as her male counterparts. However, women in the millennial should learn to trust and embrace their feminine energies to equally accomplish the goals and tasks that they typically employ sternness and rigidity to accomplish.
For instance, successful architect and CEO of 24-year old company AD Consulting, Olajumoke Adenowo, said in a recent social media post that she was “worried because the team would consistently describe AD [Consulting] as a family and I felt it meant my leadership style was effeminate or too maternal. I know now it’s meant positively”. Her team members went on to describe their time with the company as life-changing. Women in leadership, especially, can learn from this example that it does not require emotionless and masculine traits to get compliance and high performance from team and that employing natural feminine traits rather than suppressing them can also aid in better flow of work life balance and over all well-being and mental state.
A post on Twitter read: “This is so important for women entrepreneurs. I often hear women describe their businesses like “I run a small Consulting firm”. How about describing it as “I run a growing Consulting firm”. Don’t diminish your business in order to sound humble. Men hardly do that”. A major part of the masculine trait is self-assertion. This is one reason why women empowerment groups stress courses like public speaking, confidence building and negotiation techniques.
Research shows that when emotions and thoughts are ignored or minimized, this only amplifies them. A Harvard professor, Daniel Wegner conducted a famous social experiment where he asked a group of participants not to think of “white bears”, and after the ban was over, they thought of “white bears” at a greater rate than the study’s control group. Instead of repressing feelings and emotions, we should always look to find effective ways to not only master them but fully express them with solutions and plans of resolving the triggering issues. This is called emotional agility.