Her true power comes from unexpected places.
By Beate Chelette
What would you guess women said they wanted most in 2013? A recent
survey suggests we’re seeing the rise of the alpha woman who chooses to be
independent and aggressive when it comes to seeking out and getting what she
wants. Such good news and among the findings: nearly half the women surveyed
said they would prefer to be single and more than 40 percent have no hesitation
asking for a raise. The GIY (get it yourself) mentality is gaining momentum, the
study found, and more moms are choosing to tackle full-time jobs while balancing
In nature as we know, the alpha leads the pack, sets the rules, and often maims
or kills competitors. In business, in the past, women assumed that to get ahead
they had to adopt the behaviors of the alpha male because there wasn’t any
other model of leadership to follow. Think Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears
Prada, an outdated type of female alpha who thinks her power comes from being
tough and unyielding, and shunning traditional female traits–sensitivity, creativity,
nurturing. It’s as if a zebra covers-up her stripes in order to appear more like a
Almost daily, in my career and business consulting practice, I interact with
dynamic, determined women who are working hard to succeed and get what they
want. Many of them have alpha traits, as do I, and I appreciate a woman with a
strong opinion and spirited personality. You cannot build a business or climb the
corporate ladder being a wallflower. You have to be pack leader of your own
goals. But there’s a new twist with the contemporary alpha. Something happened
on the way to becoming powerful. The term suddenly changed to empowered
and women now seek a new way of being in business that feels right, natural and
is based on “women-centric” qualities.
The New Alphanista
Call us alphanistas, strong women who bring our individual values to the table.
Women who have come to realize that we can be as powerful as men by
utilizing, the full range of our innate power, which comes from within. We can feel
free to show our stripes because therein lies our compassion, uniqueness—and
empowerment. In The Women’s Code we call this Leadership on C.U.E.
For the longest time, most successful women have adopted one of two main
business leadership styles because, until The Women’s Code, there have been
no other models. The Alpha Woman Leadership Style embodies the person who
wears suits and heels. They are power-hungry and often mean and ruthless.
There is another kind of woman who follows the Tend-and-Befriend Leadership
Style. That’s when you want to be everyone’s BFF in order to be liked. Avoiding
confrontation is not beneficial to your advancement. It’s very difficult to be a good
leader when you want to be friends with everyone. These are the women who will
remain stuck in management positions and never advance. Instead of moving
forward, they just defend and protect what they have.
Neither leadership style is congruent with who we are as women. One focuses
on male traits and the other outdated. Somehow, emotional and intuitive traits
have never been valued and yet both are valuable forms of intelligence. We can
only succeed if we embrace who we are and support other women in their climb.
I often wonder: what ever happened to sisterhood?
The old-fashioned charismatic but ruthless chief executive is fading as a new
generation of business leaders favor consensus-building, personal credibility,
professional ethics, showing support and compassion. I call it Leadership
on C.U.E., meaning a style that incorporates compassion, uniqueness and
empowerment. Compared to ego-driven leaders, bosses on C.U.E. lead by good
example, admit their mistakes, and recognize team members’ strengths.
It’s time we set our own course that is based on what we know, what we care
about, and who we truly are. All of it. Not just the tiny fraction of skills that we
have come to believe is socially and professionally acceptable. Returning
to nature for a moment, if you need validation, look at elephants. They are
matriarchal, female-led societies in which humanity, wisdom, support and
guidance are essential alpha female traits.