Saturday, May 7, 2011

Gender Versus Leadership and Management

I was recently asked by Friday Magazine out of Dubai about the differences I saw in leadership and management issues today and their relationship to gender. Here is what I said…

Leaders and managers are totally different in my view. Most today perceive the two as being the same as it is what the western culture has created over time. For example to become a business person one usually is encouraged to get an MBA degree which is learning how to administer and/or manage. We have also confused over time the concepts of leadership with those of being successful at achieving certain things… position, money, status etc. Whenever people today say they are going to bring leaders together, they look to certain positions and invite whomever has that position at that moment in time… mayors, politicians, business executives, etc. We have been taught to think of leaders as those who are winners or those who have successfully obtained what they were after.

Leadership is much different than that. Leadership is finding who one is (core values), knowing one’s purpose and making choices in every moment that are aligned with those values and that purpose. Leadership is being who one was born to be and finding a way to create that dream that is within each of us. Leadership is helping others lead from their values and purpose so that they can be and create their own dream. Leadership is helping people who share common purposes and dreams create a life that has meaning and that makes a true difference in the world. Leadership is leading WITH people in such a way that together, people build things that others thought to be impossible because they believe they can and because they are deeply committed to their efforts, actions, values and purpose. Leadership is helping people create the impossible out of nothing if need be because believe they can and choose to.

As far as gender, I believe in the bigger (macro) picture there is no difference in their ability to both lead and/or manage. They both are capable of getting from point A to point B. What many do not understand is that there is no one formula that is the correct way of getting from one point to another. Men and women may use different routes, different talents or different processes to get to another point in the distance but there is no question they can both get there.

Yet, in the micro picture of gender many things have created a perception that one gender is better at managing than another. Religion has had much to do with this. Cultural norms have had a lot to do with this. The willingness of so many to turn a blind eye when gender violence and rights are trampled upon has played a role in this. It is in this micro world where people have been trained to think in a particular way about men and women in regard to managing and leading. And yet, even with all of the pressures keeping women from having positions of authority in policy-making areas, there has been a steady movement forward into leveling the playing field over the centuries. In time I believe the world will look upon men and women as being brilliant managers and leaders… in other words the perceptions will change in time. They will change because deep within us we know that though there are differences between gender, the ability to manage and lead is not one of them.

I work with men and women to help them realize their own true potential, to see each others potential and to guide them in their understanding of what leadership truly is versus the roles of managing and administering. Everyone is a born a leader as everyone has the ability to lead themselves to be who they were born to be. Yet this is very hard work and in the end, not everyone will choose to lead and be who they were born to be. Yet for those that do, they will find great power from within themselves that has been their from the moment of their creation, they will find great meaning and fulfillment in their everyday lives no matter what their social-economic position in life, they will find that the impact of their choices will make a difference in the world, and they will by their example and choices, help others be all they can be as well. And when people choose to create together that which they share in common in passion and purpose, miracles will happen. Those who understand this will be the leaders the world needs… and it could be any of us and hopefully, all of us.

If you wish to know more or start your own personal leadership journey to find more meaning in your life contact me at: David@leaderdevelopmentgroup.com Making a meaningful difference is just a choice away… David

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