The Alpha Female Explained
- Alpha females are social conductors; non-alpha females are her orchestra
Next time you are at a party or networking event, try this fascinating experiment: Find a group of three or more females —you do not need to be close enough to hear them, they should just be in your line of sight. Put a five-minute timer on your phone or watch and take note of the direction of the women’s feet. Almost always women point their feet toward the person they are most interested in or who they feel is leading the group’s tempo. In only five minutes you will be able to see where the majority of the women are pointing their feet. Amazingly, you will notice that most of the women in the group will be pointing toward the same woman–even if they are in a circle and even if that woman is not talking.
- All females follow the alpha’s social cues
Once you have an inkling of who the alpha female is in the group, move closer (or, if you are a woman, you even can join the circle). You will notice that the entire group is taking ‘social cues’ from the alpha. The other women will hold their body like her. They will talk in the same voice tone. They even will laugh for the same amount of time as the alpha does. By the way, alpha female behavior is harder to spot in a group of males and females—males confuse the female attention spans.
- When the alpha female leaves, a social vacuum is created
Another way you can spot the alpha female of a group is by watching how each group member exits. When non-alpha’s leave the group nothing much happens—conversation continues, the gap closes and group members move on. However, when THE alpha female (and there can be only one, see below for details) you will see something odd happen. Either conversation stops completely and the group members look around expectantly for a new alpha, or the group disperses.
- There are different degrees of female alpha-ness
Female alpha-hood is not like pregnancy (you are or you aren’t). It is more of a spectrum. Some women have a high tendency to be alpha. They enjoy social conducting, being the leader and/or the center of attention. Some women only like being female alphas in their home, but not in the business environment. Some women are only social alphas around certain groups of friends. If you explain the alpha female phenomenon to a woman, she most likely will be able to tell you her ‘degree’ of social alpha-ness. On a ten point scale she might be a seven or a four, for example.
- There can be only one alpha female per cluster
What happens when two alpha females are in the same office? One word: Disaster. Or, maybe two words: Disaster and Drama. The alpha female with the higher degree of alpha-ness usually takes charge and the second alpha female backs down. Well, she seethes, plots revenge and then backs down. In social groups most of the female drama comes when two alpha females are competing to be the social conductor and non-alpha females (or alpha females to a lesser degree) are not sure who to follow.