Are your leaders "too masculine"?
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Posted by: Barbara Francella
By Keith Merron
the Chinese tradition, yin and yang — feminine and masculine — are seen as forces that
when brought together, become a natural whole. In the Hindu tradition, Shakti
is the goddess of the feminine and Shiva is the god of the masculine. They come
together to form a unified whole — different sides of the same coin.
the ages, traditions have valued the unification of the masculine and feminine. If we
move too far toward the masculine, we often do damage, are overly aggressive and
don’t listen. Our expression becomes dominant, excessive and rigid. We become
overly controlling. If
we move too far toward the feminine, we have no movement. We have no direction,
drive or force. We become tentative and too yielding.
Related: Memo to men: Don't just "get it." Do it
A new leadership style
As leaders, if we can expand our capacity in the masculine and feminine, where we can play with and express both, our ability to consciously lead and choose our response in different situations is expanded.
masculine drive to
create, innovate, grow, develop, reach new heights and compete for the
betterment of the system has created extraordinary outcomes. Unfortunately,
there are two significant downsides to the masculine leadership style.
the tendency for the masculine to dominate the environment for its own desires.
As a result, our environment is showing clear signs of suffering. It is no
accident we call our planet "Mother Earth," and she is in pain. We
are driving forward without considering the severe consequences, without a
sense of connection to her.
second downside is that the masculine is highly linear and operates much better
when the variables are known, consistent and manageable. To the extent that the
world is highly changing, ever fluid and highly unpredictable, the masculine style
is limited in its ability. Fluidity and the ability to dynamically steer are far
more important now than holding tight to five-year strategic plans.
style of leadership combining a healthy masculine and feminine is needed to
navigate our way through this continuously evolving world. Progress and
movement, including mindfulness about the larger picture, considering multiple
perspectives and decision-making with awareness, are crucial to organizational
success. Companies that understand this and have a blend of men and women in
senior positions are much better at producing results.
take a look around your organization. Do you see a healthy balance of the
masculine and feminine? Are
you taking advantage of the full depth and breadth of your talent pool by
welcoming and leveraging the natural differences between men and women? Or are
you holding on tightly to an imbalanced masculine model of leadership that is
rapidly becoming a dying breed in today’s highly volatile and ever-changing
Dr. Keith Merron is a
senior associate at Barbara Annis & Associates, part of a team challenging
the prevailing paradigms of business. He is the author of a number of books on
leadership and organization life. The most recent is Gender Intelligence:
Breakthrough Strategies for Increasing Diversity and Improving Your Bottom Line, co-authored with Barbara Annis. He
also writes a column about conscious leadership for Real Leaders.
Views expressed in blogs, posts and
user comments are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the
opinions of the Network of Executive Women or its Officers, Board members and
More A Male