The Inclusive Leader: Using and Valuing Masculine and Feminine Strengths

Leaders and prospective leaders in 2014 must have many of the qualities espoused by leadership gurus for decades. They must, for example, have a vision and inspire others to share it and work to achieve it. They must have business acumen, build trust, and demonstrate emotional intelligence. Leaders today must also have qualities that were less critical in the past. One quality needed to lead today’s workforce is inclusiveness. Inspiring and engaging a diverse workforce requires understanding and appreciating difference. It requires leaders to value the strengths of those different from themselves – and to incorporate into their own tool kit some of those strengths.

The traditional form of leadership is heavy on masculine strengths. Today’s leaders, says John Gerzema, author of The Athena Doctrine and Ted Talk speaker, need a larger repertoire. Says Gerzema, “Feminine traits and values are an untapped form of competitive advantage.” Gerzema’s research concludes that leaders need both masculine and feminine traits. Leaders must be competitive, confident and decisive (masculine strengths) – but also collaborative, empathetic, intuitive and vulnerable (feminine strengths).

In this workshop, participants will explore the differences between masculine and feminine styles of thinking, working and leading – and the strengths of both styles. We will establish a common understanding of “masculine” and “feminine” and recognize that these terms are not the same as “male” and “female”; masculine and feminine qualities appear in both men and women.  Stereotyping is avoided by using the prototypes of masculine and feminine approaches from Caroline Turner’s book – Fran (the feminine) and Max (the masculine). Participants will learn that they all have both (are “Frax”) and can be “Frax-wise.”

Frax-wise people can shift their approach to achieve the best results; they can operate at times with feminine strengths, at other times with a masculine approach – depending on the circumstances. As a result, they are more effective.

This interactive session focuses on the leadership applications of being Frax-wise. In addition to personally leveraging masculine and feminine approaches, in managing and working with others, Frax-wise leaders recognize and value both approaches. They are inclusive (and so get superior results). Participants will develop tools to be more emotionally intelligent, inclusive leaders.

Frax-wise leaders are aware of how masculine-feminine differences can create obstacles, particularly to those who operate in more feminine ways. Appreciating the business value of gender diversity, participants will gain insights and tools for removing those obstacles.