VOICE September 2015 - page 3

Graham Smith, Assistant Coach of England’s World
Cup Rugby Cup winning side, and Karen Frost, lead-
ership specialist and expert on developing women
leaders, have come together to share their
knowledge and experiences of leading and manag-
ing women.
In this article, Graham and Karen explore inspiring
ways to lead women and how to inspire them to
become great leaders. Graham draws on his 12
years as Assistant Coach for the England Women’s
Rugby team and Karen from her
15 years as a leadership consult-
ant and business coach working
with leaders from multi-national
How to Lead and Inspire Women
We both agree that women gener-
ally lead and like to be led in a
very different way to men. This
may be stating the obvious! So we
have decoded what is different
and why.
Firstly, in our experience, women
like to connect emotionally in or-
der to help to build trust and re-
spect. Evidence of this can be seen
when considering the overall aver-
ages of the Myers-Briggs Type In-
dicator (MBTI) which is the most trusted and
MBTI terms, one of the preferences based around
decision making is Thinking (T) or Feeling (F) and
world-wide results demonstrate a
75.5% of women who have completed the MBTI
profile report a preference for Feeling rather than
Thinking, meaning women are more likely, alt-
hough not exclusively, to make a decision based on
moral and personal values, as well as consider the
feelings of everyone involved. This suggests that
women typically place people before process and
this applies to all aspects of their lives, whether
they are playing in an international rugby team or
leading a division of a multi-national organisation.
If you take this gender bias into account then, as a
leader, you can behave in a way that ensures you
place significance on emotions and values. In our
experience, leaders that do this demonstrate that
they care about the women they are managing,
from both a professional and personal perspective,
and women are far more likely to respect what that
leader has to say and how they lead and manage.
Then you need to understand that confidence can
be a fragile thing for some women. It can take a
great deal to build their confidence but be lost in a
blink of an eye. These wom-
en have self-doubt even if
they have been capped for
their country on many occa-
sions or have been given
numerous presentations as
the divisional leader. De-
spite these achievements
and the recognition, they
often still go home ques-
tioning their ability and
skills. This self-criticism
also links to being critical of
others and translates into
how they view and judge
other people’s skills, com-
mitment or involvement.
This means that they can
sometimes be considered to
be too critical of others.
Then we need to understand that men battle to
bond and women tend to bond before they battle.
What we mean by this is that the process of work-
ing and playing together brings men together and
makes them a stronger and tighter unit, whether
that be a season playing a sport together or work-
ing together through a significant business change
such as an acquisition or a re-structure. They bond
through the shared experience. In comparison,
women are more likely to bond through shared
emotions. This still means that women participate
well in group activities, however, the bond with
their team mates or co-workers is much more reli-
ant on the way the activity made everyone feel ra-
Inspiring Women
By Graham Smith and Karen Frost
Photo by: Lissy Tomlinson, Rugbymatters
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