1) The process of bringing up or training; 2) Fostering care; 3) Nourish.
Stop injustices against men and women at work. It is patently unfair to shelve whole parts of ourselves while at work. For men, it takes the form of denying their feminine qualities for fear of being branded “unmanly.” For women, it becomes about squelching so-called masculine traits for fear of being labeled “aggressive.” Such devaluation has created deep divides between both sexes.
Integrate the workplace. To heal unhealthy dynamics between men and women at work, environments must move from segregation to integration. In this new context, men and women would offer their inherent strengths to one another, growing and learning as a result of this valuable exposure. They would stop trying to be like one another, and instead are themselves.
Face the realities of a global twenty-first century workplace. This next century will demand that leaders adopt a participative outlook if they are to survive. This will mean inviting differing viewpoints in making decisions, using cooperative approaches to get work done and generating support by nurturing (not manipulating) others. Drop false distinctions that create separation between people.
Work from a place of “internal alignment.” On an individual level, alignment refers to the internal cooperation between our masculine and feminine traits. We each possess both sets – often in varying proportions, with a preference for one over the other. To be an effective coach or mentor (leadership roles), we are ideally able to balance both sets of qualities; they work hand in glove.
Nurture for the right reasons. Never use nurturing as an under-handed way to support longer working hours while doing nothing to reduce inhumane workloads. Nurturing is not mutually exclusive from getting on with business. And, if leaders nurture their workforce solely to wrench more output per employee, then this “churn and burn” attitude must be stringently questioned.
Seize the opportunity presented by nurturing team members. If someone on your team is highly compassionate while achieving results, harness this person’s potential for the benefit of everyone concerned. Instead of chiding them for being too ‘soft’, learn what makes them so effective. A soft-yet-strong negotiating style can save companies a significant sum in claims, etc. It’s honey over vinegar!
Think about what would be nurturing for others. The vehicle matters not so much as the thought itself. Whether you bring in donuts for the office, treat people to a special lunch or catered break, buy them tickets to events, weekend getaways, dinner or evening on the town, spa visits or weekend retreats, or give the afternoon to go to the beach, what counts is the spirit behind the action.
Transform your employees’ experience of caring. Soul-inspiring leaders base their actions in such questions as, “What can I do to make sure these people never forget how much they mean to us?” Imagine what would be possible in your workplace if you kept that question as a constant guiding motive for your actions, using the resources at your disposal to demonstrate constant care for people.
Questions For Reflection
How do the descriptions of masculine and feminine qualities show up in your workplace and in you?
How could you develop more of those aspects of the masculine or feminine representing your least-preferred style?
When was the last time you did something ‘nurturing’ for your team members and/or yourself?