Women have never had an easy time in the world of business. Until the early 20th century, women were not allowed to have any kind of substantial employment. Even after the First World War, there was a movement to eradicate women’s roles in business because they were seen as having too much of a ‘conscience.’
Conscience has been defined as ‘the voice’ of our species’ instinctive moral sense, and that women’s instinctive moral sense is more sympathetic and compassionate towards others.
Narcissism V’s Moralistic
Having a conscience-focused workplace means thinking of others, being outwardly focused and having all employees working toward a common goal. The business world has always tried to promote the image of an entrepreneur as someone who was ruthless and unscrupulous, ensuring that many women with a conscience were painted as too ‘weak’ or moralistic to participate in the fast paced economic world.
However, the financial crisis and other events in the last decade have proved that being selfish to the point of doing harm to others, ultimately leads to economic failure.
A Narcissist’s preoccupation with themselves hinders their performance in teamwork situations and self-involved, self-preservative, self-everything –narcissists can wreak havoc in your organization. An ethical conscience requires us to be intimately bound up with others, and a good leader builds trust by considering the ‘good of all’ when making decisions.
Trust fosters collaboration, which contributes to openly sharing information, which then creates a solid
team, which provides support for all. A sense of community within the team, with a common goal, is key.
Women are the key
So we’ve come full circle realizing the damaging and detrimental effects that narcissism, self-centeredness and behaviors lacking in empathy can have on the workplace, making it unproductive. We now recognize that empathy, sympathy, compassion and conscience-driven decision making, is actually the more effective model for success in business. Qualities that are categorized as conscience-driven qualities, have been recognized as qualities most women possess!
5 ways of harnessing our inner-conscience and using it to improve business:
- Trust your instincts: As discussed, women do have an innate moral compass. So look to yourself for guidance, ensuring you are being honest and working with all of the facts (don’t convince yourself you are acting for the greater good if you know in truth you are not).
- Know your team: Understand individual team members. Develop an innate awareness of what motivates each member of your staff. There is no point providing monetary incentives or time-off to employees when they are motivated by team-building exercises or positive reinforcement.
- Talk: It’s what we do best anyway! Keeping everybody on the same page and facing in the same direction is paramount to achieving the overall goal. So ensure you communicate this to everybody. Hold daily or weekly meetings and have all team members know what each other are doing. You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.
- Equality: Don’t focus on rank: Sure there are employees who are paid more money than others but nobody is more important than another in a team environment. Make sure you make the effort to equalize the rankings – have lunch with your staff, have a chat at the photocopier and open the door for the cleaner in the morning. Everybody needs to feel from you that every cog in the wheel is valuable, important and imperative for the business to roll.
- Empathy: You need to be able to put yourself in another’s shoes. This is the most important element and why narcissistic personalities who lack empathy create such disasters. Feel for others, what they need and want and try to make their working lives more enjoyable and stress-free. Life is difficult enough so if you can ease the burden at all you will see the benefits across your whole organisation.
The belief that women with a conscience hinder business proceedings is absolutely false. Unscrupulous business strategies generate profits in the short run but they will never create sustainable, long term growth. In our increasingly interconnected world, it is important for female entrepreneurs with a conscience to participate in economics and business, instilling these fields with much-needed transparency and regulation.
About the author:
Melanie Dugan has a keen interest in the role of women in the workplace and in the world however she wouldn’t regard herself a feminist. She believes that understanding the roles of men and women and what qualities they both have is imperative if we are ever to bridge the gap between the two sexes. A biological explanation by the World Transformation Movement about when our conscious minds emerged and the result that had on the our different roles is helping her understand the truth behind why we are so different. Read a review here.