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Shakti Leadership Styles Assessment & Ready Reckoner

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Shakti Leadership Styles Assessment & Ready Reckoner

It is very important to understand your dominant energy archetype. Some of us are more masculine in our leadership, others more feminine. It is fine to have a preference; it’s important to recognize which is your dominant pole and which is your complementary pole.

Download the Shakti Leadership Styles Assessment XLS HERE to fill out and understand your leadership style.

Here are some reference notes to go with the worksheet:

What do you focus on to get the job done? How do you exercise influence? How do you get others to do what is important? What energizes or drives you when working with others? How do you resolve disagreements or disputes? For each of these areas, there are multiple polarities, such as hierarchy (considered masculine) versus network (considered feminine), or level and status versus relationships. Fill in the appropriate score on BOTH sides of the vertical line (being ‘0’), as it corresponds to you, to get a sense of what your style is (with 1 being least, and 3 being the most feminine or masculine, respectively).

There’s no right or wrong way; it’s just about becoming aware.

If you have scored a 3 on any front, ask yourself if there are situations where that may not be serving you. The takeaway from this exercise is that it’s fine to have a dominant archetype, to be either masculine or feminine. But you must know this in order to call on the complementary energy when needed.

Former corporate executive Betty Ann Heggie uses a simple metaphor to explain how to balance our masculine and feminine energy in any situation as required. Think of hot and cold water from a tap. She says, “When you feel the water getting too hot, dial down the temperature by turning on the cold water tap. When it cools too much, turn the hot back on and reduce the cold until you find the perfect temperature.”

Pay particular attention to this when you find yourself in a leadership moment or dilemma and feeling stuck. You are stuck because what you’re doing isn’t working. That’s when you need to know what to pull from the other pole. You can always use it, let it go when it’s done, and come back to being in your anchored place.

The whole idea of flexibility is that you should be anchored in yourself, but also know how to flex toward something else. Bend, but don’t break. Bend toward it and then come right back when you no longer need it.

Remember that the ideal to strive for is the ardhanarishwar, the beautiful depiction of half man–half woman in the yogic tradition: to have transcended gender and its surface qualities. Learn to hold both and play to one or the other as needed.

Avivah Wittenberg-Cox is a consultant who helps to build gender-balanced businesses. She advocates that businesses and their employees learn to be “gender-bilingual”—to speak the language of the feminine as well as the language of the masculine.

Speak the language of the country you are in. But you don’t stop being the other.



Having understood your overall as well as domain-specific leadership styles (Masculine or Feminine or Balanced), you can use this worksheet as a Ready Reckoner to find solutions and resolutions to any leadership dilemma you encounter in everyday work-life.

To give you an example, if your dilemma is around the “Conflict” domain (how you resolve disagreements and disputes) and if you tend to be more Masculine in how you typically handle conflict, then look at the opposite Feminine column and consider how you could apply some of those approaches. Could you approach the problem more indirectly? Could you understand and address the feelings involved instead of simply focusing on the facts of the matter? How about seeking healing instead of simply looking to close the issue? Would you be willing to engage the emotional aspect and if necessary, go through some hurt or pain? If you were to balance your dominant Masculine leadership style of handling conflict in this way, with some complementary Feminine behaviours as shown in the worksheet above, it is our premise that you would overcome the dilemma successfully.


Let us apply this Ready Reckoner right away: Think of a dilemma you are currently facing. Which of the five domains is it about? (Structure, Orientation, Influence, Motivation, Conflict). What style or energy do you need to dial up or down to resolve the situation?

Please enter your response in the box below in the XLS

Based on the book Shakti Leadership: Embracing Feminine and Masculine Power in Business, Copyright © 2016 by Nilima Bhat and Raj Sisodia. Reprinted with permission of Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Oakland, CA. USA. or 800-929-2929

By Nilima Bhat | Mar 09th, 2022 | Free Resources

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