I am grieved by the news of another terrorist attack in Europe. I believe this is a symptom of a serious imbalance. It is a product of a culture that represses and covers its women – and so represses and dishonors all that is feminine. My commitment is redoubled – to do my small part in having people value both masculine and feminine, in themselves, in others, in our organizations and in our culture.
Yes, there is progress in seeing more women at leadership levels in business; but the pace remains glacial. We need to understand the reasons at the deepest level – so we can pick up the pace and capture the known benefits. I was invited to post a blog on the London School of Economics Business Review. I used the opportunity to express my thoughts on the root cause. I hope you’ll read it!
It concerns me that, in the corporate workplace, women and men conform to the masculine model. If we all do that, first, we lose ourselves and become less authentic. Equally important, we perpetuate and ratchet up the imbalance we have in terms of masculine and feminine in the world of work (and the world generally). I don’t want women to become “men” in order to succeed. And I don’t want men becoming more masculine in order to fit in and feel respected. I want men and women to discover the strengths of feminine as well as masculine ways of working and leading.
A colleague suggested that we might attract more people, particularly men, to our cause if we emphasize, not gender diversity, but the business benefits of gender inclusion. Another author and facilitator reminded me that we get better results by focusing on what we want rather than on the “problem” we are trying to solve. Help me apply these two insights. If we invite people to a workshop about organizational culture and results, do we indicate up front, or once they are in the room, that the drivers we focus on are inclusive leadership and gender diversity? I want to focus on the desired outcome (businesses that thrive because of gender diversity) and not the “problem” (unconscious gender bias). How do we effectively address unconscious bias?
The topic of gender diversity has lots of facets – many sub-topics and applications. I am willing to put in the work to design many different workshops and speeches. All forward my mission – to help create a world where both masculine and feminine strengths are valued and leveraged – and my vision – a world where gender diversity is the norm and organizations thrive as men and women succeed and lead together.
I teach others to value difference, particularly gender and generational differences. I need to learn to value one type of difference that is unrelated to gender or age – the difference between “A-type” and “B-type” personalities. As an “A-type,” I move quickly from one task to another and want things done now. “B-types” take things more slowly and like to do one thing at a time. We can drive one another crazy – or we can recognize difference and appreciate strengths different from my own.