Is the new ‘feminine’ approach to negotiations (and life) a myth that is doomed to failure? Watching the new hit T.V. show, Alpha Males, reminded me of why I started down this path to reframe negotiations. It also got me to thinking about the challenges in making the transition. We’re facing a chicken and egg scenario where it’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole if we don’t bring transparency, vulnerability, and intention to the dialogue (and process).
I built my reputation as an attorney based on an aggressive approach. My clients called me the Barracuda. I made people cry in cross-examination. I didn’t yield or cede. These were seen as my advantage and the source of my power and success. But there was a high cost that came with that approach. When I slowed down to explore its origins, I had my epiphany that everything we’ve been taught about success, power, conflict, and negotiation were based on myths that likely led to the current state of imbalance in the world. And so started my mission.
In my book, The Art of Feminine Negotiation: How to Get What You Want from the Boardroom to the Bedroom, I explore some of the deep-seated conditioning that led to the current competition-based model. I explore how that model disadvantages women and holds them back from stepping into the full force of their authentic power. My models are not gender-based and I believe they benefit men, women and all the spaces in between.
And so, I agonized over whether to use the term ‘feminine’ at all, and whether to write the book for broad application. The message was important for everyone. However, as I researched the unconscious biases and blocks that inform our current models, I felt strongly that women, in particular, had been disadvantaged. I decided to address the so-called masculine/feminine divide head-on to raise awareness about the issue. I also decided that there were some gender-specific issues around conditioning that were better served with books targeting each audience separately.
The new Netflix Alpha Males show reinforces for me why it’s important to write my sequel on The Art of Feminine Negotiation: For Men. The show is a social satire, following the challenges of four 40-something Spanish ‘alpha’ males as they attempt to navigate the changing world and gender roles and expectations. It’s a clever show that highlights the inherent problems in a transition of social mores.
The four best friends, each facing the impact of shifting gender expectations in different ways, all enroll in a course on deconstructing ‘toxic masculinity’. Each has varying levels of resistance, with one going so far as to create his own course on bringing back male virility. And so, the battle lines are drawn. The show perfectly captures the push-back reflex to be expected in any period of social change. It also captures the deep hold of old conditioning and how it reinforces polarizing views that are sure to swell as we challenge it.
Ignoring this reality and pushing a new agenda without inclusion and sensitivity dooms any attempt at meaningful change. The very conditioning that led to the system being re-examined will necessarily create a counterforce. Attempts to undo old models will be met with pushback based on mindsets formed under the old culture. This resistance will inevitably come from both ‘sides’, including those who stand to benefit most from the change.
By contrast, if there is open dialogue, with inclusivity and invitations for engagement, without blame or judgment, then the space is opened to effect meaningful change. Instead of pushing against each other, what if, instead, we pushed up to a higher understanding and impact that better benefits all? In fact, at its heart, that’s the point of the Art of Feminine Negotiation™. Bringing empathy, compassion, and understanding to the table, truly listening to the needs of all parties, building rapport and trust, will invariably yield better outcomes.
So, is the new ‘feminine’ approach to negotiations (and life) a myth that is doomed to failure?
No. I believe it’s the very path that will save us by becoming the best possible version of ourselves.
Are you looking to up level your negotiation skills?
How to Get What You Want from the Boardroom to the Bedroom
Negotiation skills are a woman’s secret weapon.
Art of Feminine Negotiation debunks myths and multi-generational gender conditioning that have stopped women from fully stepping into their power. Uncover the unconscious biases that have limited women from becoming the biggest and best versions of themselves.
Learn the key skillsets that mark superior negotiators, explore how women already possess these skills in spades, and master how to start invoking these essential skills with intention in everyday life.
Please enjoy my TEDx Ocala talk
- Rise of the Feminine Voice as the Key to Our Future-