FRIDAY, DEC. 21: After decades of fighting for equality in business, it is my thought that we have been trying to rise as a group in this sphere by taking an already trodden path. Why do we hide our beautiful feminine qualities in order to be effective, when we should leverage them to build strong successful business relationships? As a woman, let me explain what I — and all of us — can bring to a business environment.

 

I am nurturing and maternal

“What woman inspires you and why?” When asked this question, Angela Ahrendts, CEO of Burberry, responded: “My mother, as I trust her implicitly and know she will always be open and honest, and always has my best interests at heart.”

You wouldn’t hesitate to share your concerns and private information with your mother would you?

Interestingly, our maternal instinct is literally hard-wired into our brains. Tokyo researchers used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging to study the brain patterns of 13 mothers, each of whom had an infant about 16 months old. They found that their brain patterns were markedly different when they heard their own baby crying than when they watched the other children. 

Natural mothers or not, as women we have a natural maternal and nurturing instinct. Clients feel comfortable sharing information in an open, honest and non-judgmental environment. Don’t try to hide your natural urge to protect and care for another.  

 

I am a good listener

Food for thought: in business, we spend over 33 per cent of our time listening. Wouldn’t your clients take comfort in knowing their concerns are genuinely being heard and, therefore, properly addressed?

Remarkably, an exploratory study conducted and published in the Journal of Business Communication found employers rank listening as one of the top skills desired.

As of the late 1990s, 64 per cent of organisations provided some sort of listening training for their employees because they find employees’ listening skills are ineffective for today’s work environment.

Take advantage of a workplace environment that is lacking sufficient listening skills and use what comes naturally to you to provide exceptional service and, perhaps, gather some new perspectives along the way.

 

I am empathetic

In the business world, coupling the words “emotional” and “woman” together is a practice that is largely avoided for fear of causing offence, but there’s a difference between empathy and sympathy.

The next time you feel yourself holding in the natural urges to feel for others — don’t. Empathy is what allows us to create connections with our clients.

For example, it is my job as a wealth manager to listen to concerns and problems and translate them into a solution that fits into a client’s bigger financial picture.

This couldn’t be done without empathy and understanding. Being an intentionally empathetic service provider sends the message you genuinely care and that your clients are not alone in their situation. When you put yourself in the shoes of another, you are able to provide individualised solutions for your clients and, therefore, an enhanced level of service. 

 

I am intuitive

As women, we have a sixth sense. It’s called intuition; the inner voice or “gut” feeling that directs your path. You have the ability to translate stark facts and figures into business insight, which is intuition. According to Professional Intuition Counsellor, Susan King, intuition is a muscle-like phenomenon that is underused due to advances in technology and the readiness of information.

By exercising this muscle more often, your clients will find solace in the fact their problems will not be remedied with a cookie-cutter solution.

Bestselling author, Kami Garcia said: “We don’t get to choose what is true. We only get to choose what we do about it.”

In addition to competence in their fields, some of the top abilities sought by potential clients were those that are inherently held by women.

Having a wealth manager who truly listened, was maternal, empathetic and intuitive was valued above traditionally gender-neutral qualities. 

We are women and we can roar… we just sound different.

Elyse Rayner is a Wealth Manager with AFL Investments and can be reached at (441) 294-5738.