The full title “What men can learn from women about leadership in the 21st century” (by Carol Kinsey Goman in the Washington Post) caught my eye when I was perusing the American Association of University Women’s LinkedIn group site. I posted it to the Friends of Avolead LinkedIn group, and Charles Eakes asked if I’d post it here as well.
It’s a fascinating recognition of male and female stereotypes reflected in the language of leadership and a call for the adoption of new ways of evaluating and talking about leadership. “These new business realities usher in the need for a new leadership model, one that replaces command and control with transparency and inclusion. This will increasingly highlight the value of a more feminine approach. Where in the past communal behaviors naturally favored by women may have been obstacles to leadership success, in a collaborative future they may well become an edge.” The author mentions several research findings showing specific traits typically associated with females that are often lacking in males. These include their participatory style, their reaction to stress in the form of increased empathy rather than decreased in males, their tendency to be interactive, and their sensitivity to body language.
This is the author’s compelling conclusion:
The most successful leaders of the future will take the time and effort necessary to make people feel safe and valued. They’ll emphasize team cohesiveness while encouraging candid and constructive conflict, they’ll set clear expectations while recognizing what each team member contributes, they’ll share the credit and the rewards. And, most of all, they’ll foster true networked collaboration through a leadership style that projects openness, inclusiveness and respect.
Any leader can do that. Female leaders just already do it more naturally.
Note: The author of this article, Carol Kinsey Goman, is an executive coach and the author of The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help or Hurt How You Lead.