Recently at the end of a workshop, a participant said he understood that people, women particularly, need to shift to a masculine style to succeed. Than he asked, “We want workplace culture itself to shift and become more balanced, right?” He had summed up the purpose of my work. I want a world where masculine and feminine ways are modeled in leadership and valued in business cultures.
In my daily life, including as I try to re-engage in my normal work pace, I find I am grateful for both masculine and feminine parts of me. I see that a personal balance of both is important – just as a balance of masculine and feminine approaches is good for business and leadership.
We can see the value of both masculine and feminine approaches in daily life. In my case, I saw the importance of having both approaches as I recovered from a physical impairment. The world needs both masculine and feminine strengths!
I need to take my own advice. My mission is to make gender diversity in business leadership a reality. Doing that requires creating inclusive workplace cultures that value both masculine and feminine ways of working and leading. Since more women than men demonstrate feminine styles, women will benefit from such a culture. Valuing both makes individuals more effective, creates greater inclusion and engagement and lowers obstacles to gender diversity. As a former attorney and corporate executive, I demonstrate many masculine strengths. I am working on honoring the feminine aspects of myself!
Fritjof Capra wrote in 1975 about the importance of valuing and balancing masculine and feminine ways. This year John Gerzema published The Athena Doctrine, demonstrating that business today needs leaders who balance both feminine and masculine forms of leadership. Gender diversity is good for the bottom line because it enables businesses to have a balance of both masculine and feminine strengths.
If feminine ways of making decisions are “Fran,” and the masculine approach to decision-making is “Max,” we are all “Frax.” We are “Frax-wise” when we can use and appreciate both approaches. In the area of decision-making, Max’s approach (the masculine)) is to focus on the goal and approach it in a logical, linear and efficient way. Fran focuses also on the process, gathers ideas, involves others and synthesizes input. Both ways are valuable in different circumstances. Frax-wise people know when to use which; they appreciate someone whose approach is different from their own and know the value of having both on a team. Frax-wise leaders know this difference can create obstacles and work to lower those obstacles.