The headline in the email from smartbrief captured my attention:
6 Reasons that Women Make Great Leaders
Congratulations to marketer who wrote that subject line! It got me to open the email and click on the article. The article, however, has me shaking my head a bit (not in a bad way, but in a perplexed way). It cited some research on increased performance in companies with more women leaders or boards that had women on them. This does not surprise me, and I’m glad this research is getting out there. It then listed the six traits women leaders have that make them successful:
Women are values-based
Women are holistic
Women are inclusive and collaborative
Women invest time in consultation
Women create shared vision, values, and goals
Women generate trust from employees.
Is this what women do? Or is this what humans do? I ask because so many of the qualities listed above are at the core of what we identify as more human leadership in our book Humanize (open, inclusion, trust, collaboration, relationship building, systems thinking…).
Now, I think it’s completely possible that our Humanize theory has a feminine bent to it. My co-author is a woman, of course, and I’ve always worked in fields that were woman-dominated, frankly (conflict resolution, organization development, associations and nonprofits…), so it wouldn’t surprise me at all if we ended up highlighting a more feminine approach to leadership. But it wasn’t intentional.
What do you think? Is our machine-oriented management regime of the last century inherently masculine? Is our vision of more human leadership focusing on the overlooked feminine traits of leadership?