Will the Pandemic Reshape Notions of Female Leadership?

By Carol Pocklington

Well it’s been a while since I put pen to paper for this amazing and worthy publication. Life has been crazy this past 6 months – no excuse, but a reason.

The craziness included working overseas and called back on the last flight to Oz due to the pandemic. Enforced lock down – that’s another story, and like many women changed priorities to our days.

However, I had the opportunity to guest speak at two incredible events. (Just so you know absolutely Covid safe). It involved 10 women in leadership at each sitting around a spectacular table enjoying a sumptuous meal together.

I spoke to them about the season we all found ourselves in and what, if anything, they had learned about themselves during this time.

Here are a few highlights from my talk and their responses:

I spoke about women’s pragmatism, prowess and humanity during these times and wondered whether these most positive outcomes would reflect onto governments and employers and influence their collective readiness to elect and promote more women into power. I for one hope so.

As I spoke to and with these gathered ladies, I was moved by the way they spoke of the challenges this pandemic had forced them to face and the behaviourally smart solutions they used to navigate them.

From turning family rooms into classrooms to creating fun experiences in the garden, to teaching their children to cook, sew, iron and share their learning experiences with friends via social media, I listened in awe to the creativity and resilience these women are showing.

This led me to consider how you (the reader) are doing. What’s the one thing – behaviourally – that you have faced/noticed about yourself during this pandemic? What have you discovered about your partner, your children, that has surprised you.

I was in Oxford, England at Magdalen College when called back to Australia. I was walking in the footsteps of CS Lewis and reminded of why I invest my skills into women in leadership, whether in a career or at home. CS Lewis wrote the following in his 1943 book The Abolition of Man.

A time of radical leveling was coming, in which any head of wheat that rose above the field of others was in danger of being chopped off. Aspiring to excellence or greatness would be considered a sign of arrogance and struck down. The pressure to submerge giftedness or skill is sometimes felt within the Christian community, where leadership aspirations can be equated with prideful ambitions. As a result, leaders may appear reluctant and unsure of their abilities. Leadership aspirations are often tolerated when taken up by men who use the language of humility and service. But women who use the same approach are likely to be sharply criticized. The same behaviour that is labelled healthy ambition in men is often labelled as arrogant pride in women.

So why would this passage written so many years ago strike me as appropriate for today – well it’s simple. I believe women have carried the lion’s share of this difficult season and need to be congratulated for it. But more. They need to be seen as the natural leaders in times of uncertainty that I have always believed they are.

The women at these events I spoke about earlier were all juggling several roles: partner, parent, business owner, friend, all-around-encourager. All admitted to times of frustration and weariness, but each agreed they had taken on roles not prepared or qualified for and risen to the occasion. Each shared how much they had learned about themselves in terms of their ability to not only survive in times of turmoil but to flourish.

Proverbs 31: TPT
10 Who could ever find a wife like this one—[e]
she is a woman of strength and mighty valor![f]
She’s full of wealth and wisdom.
The price paid for her was greater[g] than many jewels.

Well over the past few months I’ve met 20 of them and I’m sure there are many more out there.

I celebrate you women in leadership and acknowledge Kat Green katalex.com.au for holding these events so women can unlock their true identity and invest in personal development, not to mention eat delicious food.

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Carol Pocklington is a Human Performance Accelerator. She has worked with Hugh Massie since 2001 as the DNA Behavior concept was conceived. She works with people and businesses worldwide. Her real-world application of behavioural insights, gives her the capability to serve as a business strategist, coach, mentor, and trainer. She is also a prolific blogger, a public speaker and author, specializing in human behavioural insights.