Alpha Females

Helping women make the most of their leadership qualities.

The Alpha Female Dilemma

Balancing looks and smarts

Girls are brought up to be loving and cute so as to be loved across cultures. Boys are brought up to be strong and competitive. How are girls supposed to change their sweet style when they turn into teens?

Add overt competition to attract a mate and there is additional conflict: attractive women are often criticized for being attractive by their peers—not by men who, by the way, love to feel attraction to a sexy woman.Women who can ignore criticism probably do best but how can they continue to thrive when they experience little support from their peers?

These are some tips that may help an alpha female polish her leadership skills and move beyond the criticism of her peers:

  1. Mind your own business: Set up a goal and create a plan. If you ask for advice or an opinion, be ready to do what you meant to do anyways; otherwise, you’ll find yourself derailed by what others think you should do instead of doing what you want to do.
  2. The more beautiful and smarter you are, the more criticism you will receive: It’s a given. Unless you bend over backwards to please everyone around you—and you will hardly accomplish your leadership goals if you are constantly looking around—you will need to seriously focus on your ultimate plan. Dress down, use less makeup, or use plain colors to camouflage yourself, unless you are in the entertainment industry.
  3. Call it like it is: Don't sugar-coat the truth. If your personality is assertive and direct, you will benefit from using diplomatic and mediation skills. Don't over do it, however. Avoid wasting your time to be liked. You have little time to express yourself as a leader. Listen to people, take time to integrate your lessons learned, and be daring when you need to provide feedback.
  4. Remember empathy: Women have been raised to be thoughtful of others, in general. Put yourself in the person’s shoes while also addressing the issue head-on.
  5. Smile: Smile a lot. Be serious when you discuss a serious matter but show openness and collegiality while you interact with everyone. Stop and listen to people when they approach you and maintain a good disposition with everyone.

Gabriela Cora, M.D., M.B.A., hosts Dr. Gaby's Take: Make Life Interesting. She’s a medical doctor with a master's in business administration.

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