It’s a common misconception that you must act like a man to lead a male-dominated company. In reality, businesswomen need to use feminine and masculine leadership traits within any industry to lead with authenticity, compassion, and toughness. Hear from Grenee Martacho, CEO of Concord General Contracting, ahead of her presentation at the next PWA on October 4th during October’s Careers in Construction Month.
- How should businesswomen utilize both feminine and masculine leadership traits, and how does it benefit every company within any industry to lead with authenticity, compassion, and toughness?
Feminine energy is intuition, feelings, and being empathetic to people and your masculine traits circle around being assertive, dominating, and aggressive. We all have both, but the key is to have a good balance between the two. You’re running a business and sometimes you are going to have to make difficult decisions that others won’t understand or agree with and you need to be confident in not being the most popular person in the room at times. I’ll use the example most leaders don’t like in their positions and that’s terminating an employee based on performance. It’s hard because our feminine traits automatically think of their family, losing a paycheck, and what will others within the industry think that you are letting that person go whereas the masculine energy goes to lost sales, inability to perform the job, and not a cultural fit for the company. As a female leader I have had to remind myself more than once during these decisions, that this is business and while the employee is a great person and has impeccable skills, it’s not the best fit for the company or that employee in the long run. If you don’t make the hard business decisions, you won’t grow as a person or a company.
- Why is it important for women to tune into their feminine energy and lead with compassion? We’re leaders in our companies, meaning about 75% of our job is dealing with people. As a woman leader people are naturally going to share more with you than they would with a male leader because women tend to listen more, show more empathy, and express encouragement, but as a woman leader you can’t take on their problems as your own. I’ve learned when people just need to vent or whether they actually have a problem they needed my help on. If they need help with an issue my assertive and problem solving will kick in and helped them with the issue, if they just wanted to vent, I would offer up my ears and show compassion in their difficult time. The key is to not take on others personal problems and make them your own – listen, show compassion and empathy, and move on.
- What advice do you have for women leaders working in a male-dominated industry?
We all know the line “walking on egg shells.” As a leader, regardless of gender, you need to know who you authentically are as a leader and show up that way every day. Trying to be someone you are not will confuse people because the inconsistency will quickly show up. For example, I am a very direct person, but also a very casual communicator. I tend to joke a lot in my general conversations and like to have fun in the day-to-day work environment. If I had to act stoic every day I would fail miserably and make people question who they are dealing with in a particular moment. Be yourself and show up as you are.
- Describe your work with Build Your Future Arizona and explain the importance of Concord General’s involvement with the initiative.
We are short thousands of workers within the industry and a lot of long-term employees are retiring. There is a stigma with construction that it’s for people that weren’t good students, have no career direction, and don’t make enough money to support a family. Our support in Build Your Future Arizona allows our employees to interact with students first-hand showing the different career paths within the field, types of positions needed in construction, and work to change the stigma that surrounds our industry.
- What is the state of the construction industry today, and how are you leading Concord General through industry changes and challenges?
Honestly, by taking care of myself to be able to show up for others. It’s hard leading a company in today’s construction environment knowing that the supply chain and manpower challenges are making it hard for our field staff, knowing that your people are getting recruited every day and working hard to make sure they have job satisfaction, and knowing that everything you do as a leader is being evaluated and scored. The feminine side of me thinks about our people every hour of the day and the masculine side of me says don’t skip the boxing class today.