Neither better nor worst. Keep the differences, and diversity will do us greater

 

There are different models of leadership. Keeping the differences between them will improve the objectives, the strategies and will make us free.

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 Have you realized that maybe being used to a specific model of leadership is making us to undervalue other models? Have you realized that maybe depending on the type of organization, or the specific group in it, we should rather prefer different models? Would it be possible to integrate different leadership models in our organizations? What about if we…?

I do not want to write about models of leadership, neither try to show if there are advantages between ones and the others. I just want to shed some light over the need of accepting that there are different models, and that, in fact, men and women feel more comfortable working in one or another.

Before continuing reading, I would like to say that I think both men and women can develop the model I am going to describe as the feminine stereotype. Nevertheless, there are lots of studies that show differences about how men and women apply leadership: aim orientated versus strategy orientated; expressivity or self-control; collaboration; informed decisions; assertiviness; creativity; conviction; inclusion; mentoring…

I think all these qualities that are more common in the feminine leadership, are the product of a mixture of physiology and society. Moreover they could be the consequence of being continuously excluded from traditionally power structures and a reduced access to resources. All these facts could have contributed to developing more collaborative strategies, against classical competitive ones, and to give special value to transparency and creative thinking, as a reaction to those classically closed systems. All these values are really very important nowadays, in a society thirsty for changes, transparency and catalysts elements, so this leadership model constitute a leadership reserve that should not be wasted.

Maybe because of it, these typically feminine leadership qualities have now a new meaning and are nowadays more powerful. But to be properly valued like this, we need to listen to these leaders in a different way, not under the expectation of the traditional leadership.

I think women have strengths and behaviour that make us different, but, it will be only those teams who know how to take advantage of this diversity that will get adapted to the needs of this new society. However, despite all those features, women are still underrepresented in the management positions, even more in public sector. This makes the alternative leadership model undervalued or even discredited. I know it can be complicated to break down habits, but we need to realize that common facts are not always normal ones.

My aim is not to open a debate over the leadership models presented as alternative. What I would like to do is just to reflect on the fact that this model identified as the feminine leadership is the right model to manage teams, especially those in which knowledge is the most important value. Health institutions are a perfect example of knowledge systems in which to develop this leadership model. Because of it, we should consider that the future and success of these institutions will go through the integration and coexistence of the different models of leadership.

But even though, something else has to change, because this model of leadership, the model that looks for consensus, for sharing conversations and different points of view, takes the risk of being interpreted as a sign of weakness or insecurity. This means that, if we want all of those important values of this model not to remain in the background, IT IS IMPORTANT TO LISTEN TO THE WOMEN FROM A DIFFERENT POINT OF VIEW, understanding that this model is neither better nor worse, it is just different.

Keeping these differences will improve the objectives, the strategies and it will set us free.

Patricia A-Fdez

 

I have tried to summarize some of the characteristics of the female leadership model in the infographic.

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