In Corporate Boardrooms across the world, it matters that all voices are heard, valued and accounted for in the major and minor conversations that build sustainable success. Many factors influence these conversations in today’s tough economic climate and it is now recognised that men and women together make a positive difference to results. Yet each player brings different, and uniquely valuable, natural traits into this mix. However most women are not heard unless they use masculine styles of behaviour.
As men and women converse in the Boardroom (and elsewhere), it is critical to understand gender dynamics not just between males and females and their biological make-up, but between different natural styles of men and women from masculine to feminine, generation to generation, culture to culture, set against the backdrop of social and economic necessity and key platform issues (good and bad) of our world today – issues such developing technology, fast pace of business, overload and pressure, social unrest, poverty and mis-justice, desire for reform, family and life agendas…. and so much more.
Today I see that too much confusion is forming about women and their role and this has been caused by social stereotypes of women and the historic rise of feminist challenges that were necessary to make women’s voices heard, and a lack of open conversations about our own place in society and the economy at risk. Women are movers and shakers – financially, as consumers, as more than half of the world’s population, yet we are seriously unheard.
Even after the years of feminism (and I am not a feminist myself) I don’t believe that women really want the emasculation of men. We want to be heard and listen to and taken seriously and to play our part – on our terms in a world that we truly co-create with men. I do see that women do not want to be dictated to by the ‘past’, that created by an old world view of business, money and power.
Women love men, but do men value women and really listen to our needs? Do we clearly articulate what we have to offer from a future perspective without being defined by what has been to date?
Today’s contemporary leading business woman is ready for action in a wholly different way. An entrepreneuial mindset, a philanthrophic heart set and a wide scope for integration and collaboration, she has been blocked in the past yet now desires to bring a balanced viewpoint into an economy at risk. She wants to be a contributor in her own right… and heard by both men and women.
For a desirable cohesive balanced mix, where women become equal contributors to the Boardroom conversation, it is vital that female leaders understand how to operate from an informed level in both their professional acumen for boardroom efficiency but also in their personal awareness of gender attributes and natural traits that serve them well yet often get hidden away.
The most effective woman in the boardroom knows who she is as a leader and a woman; she has the confidence to value her contribution and her personal business style as a woman. She will however be faced with a range of communication styles and relationship obstacles from different types of men and different types of women, each with their own personalities, motivators, experiences and perspectives that vary from her own. Learning the elements of a mixed gender group is key. The right conversation, underpinned by a new ‘gender dynamics’ perspective, will increase her effectiveness. With this expert knowledge, a female leader will be heard and can then influence the outcomes desired by all parties, male and female. Men will appreciate her viewpoint and readily add this to their advantage. She can then more easily leverage her natural skills in the Boardroom with regards to key issues such as decision-making, conflict, risk taking and team collaboration.
This new perspective looks at the behavioural and language elements of Gender Dynamics for both men and women in the Boardroom mix; recognising personal and professional style from six different perspectives; and underpins key changes in language patterns that ensure everyone is heard. This is not the same argument as the past… quotas and playing a male game. This is about truly new ground, getting into an ‘and/and’ discussion about what both parties need and not making assumptions that the world designed by men over the last 200 years is actually the way it needs to continue.
It is fascinating to watch the ensuing pressure on our politicians to make a deal – get sorted quickly because the economy is the pressing issue and the ‘£’ our only measure. This does not take account of the human issues and the fact that maybe a too quick decision will leave us trying to solve last months issues with last years resources. Have we not learned that last month is obsolete?.. let alone last year! There is a theory ‘U’ that says it is best to take time out to resolve tough challenges, time out to reflect and open hearted, open minded conversations bringing new ideas together to bring the best solutions. Men are geared to ‘solution finding’ as a primary biological driver… this is why we need a more feminine viewpoint to counter balance this tendency (whether in men and women, this feminine energy looks beyond the task to whether the solution brings benefits to all not just the economy) Women do not separate key issues as men do … and a female ‘logic’ is needed to drive this home!
Together men and women make the best team, in today’s world this is still undervalued by all parties. More than half the UK population is female and yet we are under represented in politics and business. Now maybe proportional representation is about the gender divide as opposed to party boundaries?
We didn’t see women prominent in this election – and the media have slated us for that… Why did that happen? That is a dialogue needed among women which is continuing now in every conversation I hear. However in the business Boardroom, women have more opportunity and can make the changes happen if the men are willing. And some wise CEO’s are willing. Will men and women take up the challenges and create a new blueprint rather than more of the past?
Who will be brave? Are you? Watch this space, magical conversations start this month…