The authors of the study and book, The Athena Doctrine (2013), surveyed 64.000 people around the world and found that countries that engage more feminine traits are healthier, happier and wealthier. Men and women, that apply more traits like gentleness, kindness, commitment, sincerity, responsibility, creativity, planning for the future and adaptability..., are increasingly more respected than the out-dated traditional "macho paradigm" (arrogance, proud, rigid, selfish, strong, unapproachable, competent), since it is believed that it will increase the general well-being.
This in turn, is not saying, that male traits are not good to apply- it says we need more female traits in our approach at work, life and health for a solid progress of a well-balanced well-being in all aspects (also overall economic).
Most of my coachees come to me reporting such a conflict: they don't see the purpose in their job, they feel lifeless, not in their (creative) power. They are expected to only focus on male traits - be strong and (over-) perform on, mostly 'glass ball', KPI's. It is seen as honourable to work overtime, on weekends and sacrifice yourself for the greater good of the company. Female traits are often considered a sign of weakness, even though we see an increase in acceptance and a call for it as in the Athena Doctrine study and in countries like Denmark and Sweden. Talking to a Danish person, it turned out that it is actually the other way around: if you aren't able to finish your work during working hours and you sacrifice your family life for that, you are considered not to be able to do your job well and efficient enough.
So, as in the case where my coachees are performing mostly sitting office jobs, how can we find better balance? Get a better performance by not slowly depleting our energy and our body while contributing positively to the objectives of a company?
A great example of applying a feminine mindset is Sweden -they trialled a six-hour workday with the objective of empowering people (with certain intense professions) to better be able to care for themselves and spend time with activities that in the end are about getting your stress level down, allowing your parasympathetic nervous system to do it's job, bringing your body to rest. We all know that sitting at our desks all day is not good for our health, but what would be a solution, shorten our work days? Especially at start ups and for entrepreneurs, where work is also what you get energy from, your hobby - wouldn't you get stressed instead?
Obviously there are different professions, where it would work better than with others. That's why it is important to introduce trials per profession, company or industry so the outcome can be compared. Coming back to female traits, this aforementioned openness for such a potential trial, is considered one. As well as fairness, planning for the future, nurture. Pair it with precision, innovation and competence, and you'll get a well-balanced approach in taking a decision in this respect.
Many employers already do offer flexibility and home-work possibilities, as well as 36-38 hour weeks, 25+ vacation days and 4-day-weeks. Still, it is often frowned upon. Maybe because it isn't clear what the benefits on the macrolevel would be -government, health institutions, employers and employees.
At first, it might appear counter-intuitive - work less to achieve more? But think about the possible outcomes, what would you do with more time? You would enjoy time with family and friends more often which brings you joy and sense of connection. You would do more sports and take the time to do those walks in the park that normally would appear a waste of time (but is one of the best ways to decrease stress in your body!). You would engage in a hobby that activates your creativity and intuition, giving you the fulfilment of creating something in case you have an office job. Maybe you also would sleep more, giving your body the rest it needs to function at its best... The only consequence for your work I can think of, is that this concept/approach allows you to be more effective and focused when you are there, at work.
Inspiration and Sources:
- Book: Do less, get more - by Shaa Wasmund
- Book: Screw Work, let's play - by John Williams
- The Athena Doctrine, by John Gerzema and Michael D'Antonio; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtR3jtqJj4Y