Since the dark ages, the assumption has been that the most important leadership traits are confidence, courage and being fearless, and that those are characteristics mostly attributed to men.
There’s been a ton of research on the subject, and it turns out, that women hold 52% of all jobs, but only 14.6% are executives, 8.1 % are top earners, and 4.6 % are Fortune 500 CEOs. (CNNMoney)
HBR lists some fun reasons for this clear under-representation of women in management, namely: (1) they are not capable; (2) they are not interested; (3) they are both interested and capable but unable to break the glass-ceiling—the invisible barrier based on some archaic stereotypes that prevent women from the ranks of power.
I’m going to say something outrageous here.
Yes, that nasty glass-ceiling is unarguably still cemented in place. But what makes a great leader is not women leaning in and adopting an excessive amount of confidence—which often masks lack of actual competence (I read that in HBR and it did make me snicker…). Apparently, people yearning for leadership are attracted to hubris (I just love that word). It makes them feel safe and there is some Freudian talk about self-love.
I’m not really knocking confidence here. It’s a beautiful thing—within reason. To be present and to be powerful, you have to be confident. To be truly confident, you have to believe in yourself and practice self-love. You also have to believe in others, know how to trust, practice neutral compassion, and you have to be willing to be open and vulnerable. This last piece is actually what inspires a whole lot more trust in you than hubris.
So if we just go for transformational leadership instead of adopting the dysfunctional style that makes any gender a crappy leader, what would that look like? I’m going to give you some buzzwords and let’s see what you make of it…
- Not about you
- Humility and compassion
- Meaningful connection
- Leverage relationships
- Culture wizardry
- Life Profit
If you want to know how that really works you’ll have to wait for my Time-Freedom Virtual Retreat in January.
I know that’s a long ways from now.
I’m just giving you something to look forward to.
Since it’s almost Thanksgiving.