What About Men in Leadership?

There has been so much bad press on senior men in Financial Services that I think it only fair to say a few words to add some balance to the debate.

Gender Diversity affects everybody. Yes, that’s right – senior men as well. I laugh when I hear that Gender is only a strand of diversity. It is the only area of diversity that affects every single person in an organisation and at the moment men are getting the back lash for a lack of progress in equality over the past few decades.

Why has there been a lack of progress in representation of Senior Women Leaders? Because we currently only have one acceptable Leadership style and that is ‘command and control’ or Machiavellian tactics. We have all been programmed to believe that this is the style we must conform to or quit. Women vote with their feet and they leave, thinking that the price of conforming is too high. Men are more likely to conform because they don’t, generally, have the option of staying at home or taking a secondary and lower paid job. Many men that I have coached in senior roles have said something like this to me, ‘I don’t like it either, I have to leave my personality at the door when I come in to work.’

We have developed the concept of GQ™ or Gender Intelligence which goes a step further than emotional intelligence. If Leaders, men and women, have to lead teams in the 21st Century is it not a pre-requisite that they learn about Gender Differences? Is it not an absolute necessity if women are resigning and men are leaving their personalities at the door?

This is a common-sense issue but we are all too busy to see the wood for the trees. Gender differences can be understood by everyone we look at it on a scale, with female skills, traits and abilities at one end and male skills, traits and abilities at the other. All of us – men and women – will be somewhere on this scale and most of us will be somewhere in the middle.

Sadly, it is only 20% of men and a tiny percentage of women, who are at the extreme end of the male scale, who seem to be running our companies and setting the cultural norm for the rest.

Let’s open our minds to widen the scope of acceptable Leadership styles so that the other 80% of men and women can share power and dilute the Alpha-male ‘group think’ that has brought us nowhere.

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