Leadership by the Sexes

While in Barcelona last month, my husband Sasha and I got into a deep conversation on leadership. (While enjoying some jamon of course.) I don’t know how it came about, but after mentioning some of the greatest leaders of all times – from the Spartan leader Leonidas to the famed spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi to people we knew personally – we explored what was it that made a great leader.\n\nWe came to the conclusion that a great leader, is many things, but one very important one is a disseminator. A great leader is someone who spreads their ideas and vision to other people. Either through publications, speaking, coaching, mentoring, a leader is apt at “planting seeds” in as many places as possible not only to give greater life to his ideals, but also to help others grow with them.\n\nWait a minute, I thought! That sounds strangely like men’s biological function. As participants of life, men are programmed to spread their seeds as much as possible. From the sheer amount of sperm they’re able to produce, to the oft quoted idea that men are meant to be with many women, men are trained by nature to spread and create as many of themselves as they can. It’s part of the formula that allowed the human race to succeed.\n\nIt hit me that that is exactly why men have traditionally been “the leaders” in our society. It’s never been about men being better than women, its simply that their biological preparation has trained them to do what leadership has traditionally demanded. Replicate as much as possible!\n\nToday however, we are in a world where the greatest imperial powers have crumbled. The largest companies that we have built have collapsed and to top it off, the economy has forced the greatest builder of the biggest stuff on earth, Dubai, to stop building. What does that tell us? Spreading your seed is not enough. It is good to expand, but what’s the point of doing so if everything you plant goes bust? What’s the point of having thousands of employees if you can’t properly nurture them? What’s the point of invading other countries, if you can’t handle them? What’s the point of having tons of children if you can’t love them all?\n\nWomen however are the nurturers. They are predisposed to take nascent beings, ideas and concepts and patiently nurture them to bring life. They are also more emotional thinkers, a value that has long been missing from strategic decision making. Women are also less impulsive. They are adept at thinking through a decision without diving in head first. Case in point, women investors perform much better than men. They lose a lot less money in tough times and earn more in the long haul.\n\nThe point is this. Today is the day for female leadership. Not because I’m a feminist (because anyone who knows me knows that that is the furthest thing from the truth), but because our economy and our society are in need of nurture and cultivation. This also doesn’t mean women leaders. What it means is thinking critically, investing in projects and seeing them all the way through, not just growing for growing sake. Employees are more dissatisfied than ever in big companies, people are tired of the demands and consequences of the bigger, faster lifestyle, our children need our attention. It’s time we invest in that that we’ve built and begun before going on to the next big thing. This will not only give us purpose, but further create sustainable ideas and businesses that are fundamental to growing and giving new life.\n\n

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