JUDGMENTI make a living teaching others to value difference, particularly gender and generational differences. I am confronted by another type of difference (which has nothing to do with gender or age); I need to practice what I preach. I need to accept and value those different from myself – lower my judgment and find strengths different from my own.

One theory of personality types is that people are either “A-types” or “B-types.” A-types (like myself) like to get things done and get it done now. A-types “multi-task,” moving quickly from one task to another. The highest value is to “get it done.” Being one of these, I know I have a lengthy “to-do” list in my head all the time. And I want it ALL done NOW.

B-types are generally more relaxed, being in the moment. To me, they seem to take life more slowly; they seem to like to do one thing at a time. There are several B-types in my life, including a good friend and my son. When I ask my son to do something for me, he may agree to do it. But he does not mean NOW. He means when he gets around to it. He thinks, “What’s wrong with tomorrow?” while I think, “What’s wrong with now?”

This difference can drive me crazy. But I drive B-types crazy, giving them multiple requests and wanting it all done on my timeline (now). If I become (even more) directive and shrill, the reaction is not positive.

Most of the B-types in my life, unfortunately, have read my book and know what I teach in workshops and speeches. Difference WORKS. I have to take a deep breath and recognize that B-types are simply different. I hope they can smile and recognize that I am not a bad, pushy person. I am just different!

Where do these differences show up in your life? Are you able to accept and appreciate difference (rather than having it drive you crazy)?


masc fem careI recently had a fairly major surgery and found myself spending a week in a rehabilitation hospital. I continue to “rehab” at home. There have been many lessons, including patience, acceptance and compassion for others who had lost some aspect of their health. I had wonderful caretakers – friends, my children, nurses, doctors, physical therapists and occupational therapists. I saw both masculine and feminine styles – and I needed both.

Some of my caretakers were nurturing, gentle and solicitous. At times I needed these feminine strengths. Others were firm and directive and pushed me to do as much as I could do for myself. At times these masculine approaches were just what I needed.

My work is about achieving a balance of masculine and feminine in the workplace and in the world. My vision is of a world where both masculine and feminine are equally valued. Just look around and see how much we need both!

Where, in daily life, have you seen the benefits of both masculine and feminine ways of thinking and acting?

masc fem balI have a confession to make. I need to learn from my own book. I need to practice what I preach.

My mission is to help make gender diversity in the leadership of U.S. business a reality. Many companies understand the business case for having men and women succeed and lead together. Even those doing all the right things (for example, creating work schedules that accommodate parents and assuring that women get constructive feedback and have mentors and sponsors) are finding the journey to gender diversity slow.

The solution, we at DifferenceWORKS say, is creating inclusive workplace cultures that truly value both masculine and feminine work and leadership styles. Obviously, all men and all women do not lead the same. Both men and women use masculine and feminine styles. Because women are more likely than men to demonstrate more feminine approaches, they will benefit most from an organization’s valuing feminine as well as masculine ways of getting results.

In our workshops, we demonstrate how utilizing both masculine and feminine approaches can make individuals (men and women) more effective. We show how valuing both creates greater inclusion and engagement. And we show how valuing both approaches can lower obstacles for women (and, therefore, obstacles to gender diversity). Often I disclose my vision — a world that values feminine as well as masculine ways. I want both masculine and feminine perspectives and ways of processing information involved in the big decisions affecting our planet.

I am a former attorney and corporate executive. I am either naturally pretty masculine in my approach to work or I adapted to the masculine standard of the workplace. I succeeded to the C-level by demonstrating many masculine traits. I have personally been working on balancing my feminine and my masculine aspects. I am good at identifying and valuing feminine and masculine strengths in others. I have work to do in valuing both in myself. If I follow my own advice, I will listen to and honor the feminine aspects of my style. I will balance head and heart, confidence and humility, competition and collaboration, and hierarchy and connection. I will be more whole and balanced.

Do you value and tap into both masculine and feminine strengths?

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