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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?