Aspire - Leadership for the future

< back to aspiration blog

Are Women Leaders really the Answer to The Global Economic Crisis?

 

Is the economic crisis really about women or is it time for a change in how we lead?
 
I have been watching with interest in the past months the many press discussions on whether the world might look a little different and perhaps more prosperous if it were run by more women.
Now, one would presume that as I run a company dedicated to the advancement of women that I would be elated at this dialogue. As it happens, I am not - it is leading us down that same old track of ‘men versus women’ in the leadership debate, alienating men and annoying women.
 
Can we please stop talking about women and start talking business?
 
Apparently, we learned nothing from the global economic meltdown . . . at least when it comes to outmoded styles of leadership.  While the business world has been in turmoil for the past 18 months, the old “command and control” leadership approach seems firmly still in place. We appear stuck with the status quo now things are starting to look a little more rosy; it’s business as usual . . . or is it? 
Studies have repeatedly shown that diversity and greater inclusion of women at all levels correlates to clear, hard profits and increased productivity for businesses. Yet is this about women per see or is it about a different style of leading? Companies that embrace a new kind of leadership, one that combines business savvy with collaboration and inspiration, aversion to excessive risk, and a strong social and environmental responsibility are in my view destined for success. Interestingly, these are all qualities, often aligned with the more ‘feminine’ (notice I use the word feminine instead of female) style of leadership.
 
We all know men that can lead in a more ‘feminine’ style and women that lean towards a ‘masculine’ approach so both can come in either gender. Surely it is the combination, the ‘yin and yang’ of leadership that will make for a more honest leader?
 
Leadership talent—both male and female—is becoming scarce as declining birth rates in developed countries and the desire for more work-life balance (regardless of gender) shrink the pool of available executives. Yet, it is women that are scarce in the executives ranks, one could ask is this because women can’t get there or because they don’t want to? Perhaps the sometimes radical adaption of one’s’ authentic style is too much of a sacrifice of the soul for some.
 
Yet, companies beware - consumers are becoming more demanding and discerning of where they spend their money. They no longer want to continue supporting the male-dominated boards of failing companies. Consumers, especially the increasing number of female clients, want to purchase goods and services from organizations that reflect their interests, their concerns, their communities, and that are more diverse in their leadership.
 
These factors are creating a clear business need for organizations to advance more women to senior leadership and board level positions and perhaps this will start to shift how everyone leads.
Just as we need excellent female business leaders, we need excellent male business leaders. What we don’t need any longer are outdated leadership styles and business practices from the old, masculine-dominated models. We are all better served—both companies and consumers—when a company’s leadership style reflects the needs of the population at large. That means more diversity at the top, which means a way of leading that encompasses the best of both masculine and feminine traits (no matter what gender you are).
 
 
 
 
 
Copyright © 2009 by Aspire. All rights reserved. To use this content on your Web site, ezine, or in print, you must include “Dr. Samantha Collins, PhD, is CEO and founder of ASPIRE, an internationally-recognized leader in executive coaching, leadership development, consultancy, events, and research related to gender diversity and inclusion. With ASPIRE, you can explore how to reach more customers, attract and retain top female talent, and positively affect your bottom line. http://www.aspirecompanies.com.

By Dr Samantha Collins, CEO and founder of Aspire.

 Is the economic crisis really about women or is it time for a change in how we lead?
 
I have been watching with interest in the past months the many press discussions on whether the world might look a little different and perhaps more prosperous if it were run by more women.
Now, one would presume that as I run a company dedicated to the advancement of women that I would be elated at this dialogue. As it happens, I am not - it is leading us down that same old track of ‘men versus women’ in the leadership debate, alienating men and annoying women.
 
Can we please stop talking about women and start talking business?
 
Apparently, we learned nothing from the global economic meltdown . . . at least when it comes to outmoded styles of leadership.  While the business world has been in turmoil for the past 18 months, the old “command and control” leadership approach seems firmly still in place. We appear stuck with the status quo now things are starting to look a little more rosy; it’s business as usual . . . or is it? 
Studies have repeatedly shown that diversity and greater inclusion of women at all levels correlates to clear, hard profits and increased productivity for businesses. Yet is this about women per see or is it about a different style of leading? Companies that embrace a new kind of leadership, one that combines business savvy with collaboration and inspiration, aversion to excessive risk, and a strong social and environmental responsibility are in my view destined for success. Interestingly, these are all qualities, often aligned with the more ‘feminine’ (notice I use the word feminine instead of female) style of leadership.
 
We all know men that can lead in a more ‘feminine’ style and women that lean towards a ‘masculine’ approach so both can come in either gender. Surely it is the combination, the ‘yin and yang’ of leadership that will make for a more honest leader?
 
Leadership talent—both male and female—is becoming scarce as declining birth rates in developed countries and the desire for more work-life balance (regardless of gender) shrink the pool of available executives. Yet, it is women that are scarce in the executives ranks, one could ask is this because women can’t get there or because they don’t want to? Perhaps the sometimes radical adaption of one’s’ authentic style is too much of a sacrifice of the soul for some.
 
Yet, companies beware - consumers are becoming more demanding and discerning of where they spend their money. They no longer want to continue supporting the male-dominated boards of failing companies. Consumers, especially the increasing number of female clients, want to purchase goods and services from organizations that reflect their interests, their concerns, their communities, and that are more diverse in their leadership.
 
These factors are creating a clear business need for organizations to advance more women to senior leadership and board level positions and perhaps this will start to shift how everyone leads.
Just as we need excellent female business leaders, we need excellent male business leaders. What we don’t need any longer are outdated leadership styles and business practices from the old, masculine-dominated models. We are all better served—both companies and consumers—when a company’s leadership style reflects the needs of the population at large. That means more diversity at the top, which means a way of leading that encompasses the best of both masculine and feminine traits (no matter what gender you are).
 
 
 
 
 
Copyright © 2009 by Aspire. All rights reserved. To use this content on your Web site, ezine, or in print, you must include “Dr. Samantha Collins, PhD, is CEO and founder of ASPIRE, an internationally-recognized leader in executive coaching, leadership development, consultancy, events, and research related to gender diversity and inclusion. With ASPIRE, you can explore how to reach more customers, attract and retain top female talent, and positively affect your bottom line. http://www.aspirecompanies.com.

 

Posted by Dr Samantha Collins, CEO and founder of Aspire on Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Tags:

Building Blocks for the Girls

We have to believe inside that we deserve to be where we are, and to achieve what we have achieved. But we also have to understand that we cannot hold a belief that society owes us anything and instead make our own destinies, and likewise complain that nothing will ever change without understanding that we can control our own reality.

Read more >>

Sign up for free to read this and all other Aspire Women articles

Your personal details are safe with us. Privacy Policy