She was the social magnet. A sonnet of success, courage and brilliance.
She could command, she could demand; could give, she could sway, all of this but in her majestic way.
She was an idol of perfection, substance and excellence
She wore many hats, always ready to add another feather in her cap.
She was an Alpha Female.
Does this description resonate with your belief about yourself? Or does this remind you of some dynamic, super women who has been a mixed bag of envy, admiration and intimidation for the world as a whole?
The world is changing at a rapid pace. Women joining and thriving in the world of work has been a matter of routine. The number of women in leadership positions is steadily increasing. Claiming that there is a complete parity regarding opportunities and salaries; that the glass ceiling no more exists; that there is a complete gender neutrality at workplaces will still be a misnomer.
We find many women trying to break the shackles of the gender stereotypes and bracing to take their deserving positions in this world. They are bold, beautiful and bountiful. They embrace many roles and yet do not allow these to rule them.
They nurture the boy, mind and soul and are ready to defy all conventional beliefs about womanhood. These dashing and at times flamboyant women are known as an Alpha female.
This term is a female version of an alpha male; a name originated from Comparative Psychology, a science of drawing behavioural parallels between human and non-human animals. Alpha male is dominating, aggressive and extremely goal oriented. He is a leader by default and design.
Kindol in his book, “Alpha girls: understanding the new American girl and how she is changing the world.” Defines an alpha woman as “talented, highly motivated and self-confident…… young women who are destined to be a leader….”
While this seems to be the dream destination for most ambitious women, it’s not an easy journey. Being an alpha woman can have its challenges when it comes to dealing with other alpha and beta males and females. An alpha female can intimidate people around her and may be too much for them to handle.
As team leaders, an alpha woman has to do some thinking here. So…
If you are an Alpha female looking to lead a
Expect to be misunderstood
Not all that you do comes naturally to people or fits their heuristics of socialisation. People can mistake your friendliness to flirtish overtures. Your frankness can be misconstrued as brashness, and your drive also would be misread as a need to dominate. Be sensitive to the non-verbal cues of others and tune into their body language.
As an alpha woman, you may not feel a need to do some, but as a leader, you need to.
Understand the psyche of a beta woman
It’s good to be an alpha woman, and it’s also human to be a beta female. Do not fight them, belittle them or their concerns. As a leader, you will have to make them comfortable before they could run at your speed.
Empathy is plentiful with an alpha female and should be used well to acknowledge the needs of a beta woman. To empower her, learn first to know and then try to walk in her shoe, here it will you feel the pinches. That way you get the best buy in for the bright future that you envisage for yourself and her. Once they know you recognise their struggle, they would quickly take you to a lighthouse, a north pole and will be your troop of loyal supporters.
Befriend other Alpha women
An alpha woman loves challenges, and the biggest relationship challenge that she may encounter in a leadership role is another alpha woman. Be quick to identify her in the boardroom or the field. While competing becomes the most natural defense, look for grounds for collaboration. While this may sound cliché, it’s a tough thing to manage. Alpha women together, either joining hands or being at loggerheads creates history. Choose what history you want to write.
Manage the Alpha Men
A true alpha male would hardly get intimidated by you. In fact, an alpha person loves to be in a company like oneself and enjoys the mental richness of the interaction. Unfortunately, most men you may encounter may be pseudo alpha.
Red flag. Pseudo-Alpha men’s reaction to you may differ concerning the context in which you engage. As friends, they may be most mesmerised by the intellectual high that you provide and would work hard to impress you. They may want to come back to you for all kinds of advice and help, and you would anyways not mind that.
As colleagues, they may find you daunting, in the face and be challenging to handle. Most may go into their shell, withdraw or indulge in politicking. Some may go to the extent of a character assassination. Watch for them early on. As the saying goes, keep your friends close, but your enemy closer”.
Communication and a real emotional intelligence are what would help the most. A clear expression of intention, empathic attention and firmness of action may be the best mechanism to deal with these individuals.
Being an alpha female is no more a choice for you. For you are the chosen one. But determining the pattern of engagement with other alpha and beta souls on this earth you can work on those things. As the anonymous saying goes, “Throw me to the wolves, and I will return leading a pack.” Wishing all the very best to all the current and would be alpha women.