I write a great deal about leadership on this blog. It’s also a subject I tackle on just about every one of my Integrate & Ignite podcasts.
One aspect of leadership that I find myself ruminating on quite frequently is the differences between men and women leaders, and how they manage and communicate with their teams. On the one hand, I take a more “humanistic” leaning and believe that we’re all simply people, individuals – regardless of gender – with different abilities, values, approaches, and strengths. And, while that is true, I also believe that men and women are vastly different and therefore bring very different communication and leadership skills to the table.
Not long ago I had Daina Middleton, author of Grace Meets Grit on Integrate & Ignite. Here’s a bit from the liner notes for the book:
“Too often conversations about inequality can lead to men and women believing they are alike. Women and men are not the same, biologically or psychologically, and these differences lead to significant dissimilarities in how each approach leadership situations.”
I have been a woman business owner, a woman CEO, a woman leader for years. Avocet has been singled out and honored as one of Colorado’s Top 100 Women-Owned Businesses by ColoradoBiz magazine several years in a row. Recently the Denver Business Journal ranked us in the top ten of its minority-owned businesses list. Naturally, this kind of recognition makes me quite proud.
When I define leadership, I think of words such as inclusive, decisive, driving forward, motivating, mentoring, vision…the list goes on. Perhaps some of those qualities are more masculine, others more feminine. I can’t really say. Either way, I think it’s an interesting and important dialogue to have. Ultimately, I believe that each leader is a mix of both. I also believe that it is our goal as leaders to honor and celebrate the grace and the grit in each of us.