The Rise of the Feminine radio show host Gina Lazenby interviews Dr David Paul in Sydney
Five Important Elements of Feminine Leadership – shared by Dr David Paul on his interview with Gina Lazenby in the launch show
With the recent appointments of women like Theresa May as the Prime Minister in the UK and Yuriko Koike, the first female governor of Tokyo, to top political positions, and the potential presidency of Hillary Clinton, the conversation about female leaders is one that has garnered much attention and one that is critical and necessary right now. The world needs exposure to feminine leadership and perceptions need to be shifted towards a better understanding of the different qualities women bring to the table.
The radio show The Rise of the Feminine, was created with this intention, to bring a spotlight to the new potential that women can offer. Women are rising in the world today and it’s worth exploring how feminine values are being increasingly expressed more openly in business, politics and society. In the episode aired August 1st, Dr David Paul, an adviser to heads of state and a feminine leadership thought leader, was interviewed about female political leaders.
According to Dr Paul, the leadership qualities reflected in women are incredibly important considering the complex issues the world is facing right now. He believes that women have a completely new vision and society at large can, and will, benefit from this. He also goes on to give five key characteristics that define feminine leadership and how they differ from masculine leadership.
Men think sequentially and linearly while women have the ability to multitask and see an issue in multiple dimensions. “You can see that with the way that women juggle so many tasks in the household.” He said men tend to focus on the next thing, then the one after that while women’s ability to see a more holistic viewpoint helps in dealing with complexity and the inter-connected nature of issues.
Angela Merkel defines feminine leadership, especially her handling of the refugee situation. “She showed courage in the face of absolute chaos, a boldness of vision and a real decisiveness about humanity. She embodies all those qualities, a feminine leader brings to any situation as opposed to the very rational, logical, autocratic ‘this-is-the-way’ kind of approach that a male leader would traditionally bring.”
Women have the ability to bring a different language to a global conversation. Merkel’s solution to the refugee situation was led by compassion. In Theresa May’s case, she to responded the fact that people felt unheard by their leaders with her inclusive language. “In her actions so far Theresa may have shown that she has been listening, and that is also important in a feminine style of leadership.”
Dr David Paul thinks what makes feminine leaders so attractive is how they listen and equally articulate the feelings of the disenfranchised population. “From a male perspective we do a snapshot survey, because the numbers speak, and therefore we think that we have heard everybody, but when you read the mood and feel the energy, it is a different approach.”
Dr Paul also reminds us of the role of women in keeping the countries going through World War II. They kept the factories going and they held together the fabric of society. “If they had not been there then we would not have had a nation to come back to.” Feminine leadership is not just about roles in politics and business, it also embraces women’s vital leadership in communities and and home-making.
Following the previous three videos, here, during the final part of our evening on Feminine Leadership, Dr David Paul answers questions.
Question: How is credibility different to being authentic? Dr David Paul responds: Credibility is what you have earned your stripes about. For example, in the book Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell says that you earn your stripes by doing something for 10,000 hours. I wrote to him and asked him why the four zeros why not three or five? It’s a round figure but it is about the quality of what you do, how well you do it and how well you master it that gives you credibility. Anyone that you venerate ….. anyone where you think that’s amazing, they have put in those hours. That’s what we credit them with. So credibility is about earning your stripes because you can speak from a space of true expertise.
Don’t confuse expertise with experience either. They are two very very different things. One that gives you authority, the other gives you credibility. Authority is all about what it is you have learnt, what experience gives you is how to help others, how to guide, how to move them forward …. and find what’s the next step. You will prevent them from making the same mistakes because you’ve got experience. As an example, if I’ve have studied the theory of swimming I can tell you how to swim but if I can’t swim myself, I can’t save you in the water. But if I am an experienced swimmer, I will combine both my understanding of techniques as well as my experience to save you from drowning.
Most people speak from experience …. And experience is always about the past, it’s not about the future. So I cannot tell you anything about experience going forward this year but I can tell you everything about experience from today going backwards. It worries me when people ask: have you got enough experience? Would you want an eye surgeon operating on your eye with experience from 30 years ago? No, I don’t, I want the person who has the latest experience because technology has changed, ideas have changed, even the techniques of operations have changed. It is important to keep up with what the latest.
It is important for people to prove a credible history. Because if we don’t then we can’t prevent, and if you can’t prevent then you are always dealing with symptoms and not the cause. And we want to deal with the cause these days. Right now, all the global governments, especially the G8 and the G20 don’t want to look at cause. And so we’re still in a global crisis because we’re not willing to look at cause. We paper over the cause and just deal with symptoms
Keep on the cutting edge of your field To be an expert, to be at the cutting edge of what you do … expertise is all about what I know and what I need to be. Collaborating with other experts in the fields to keep me on the cutting edge. An expert is about knowing your area, and you are the only expert in your particular area because you bring your particular slant or perspective .. nobody in the world can do what you do. We each need to find what we are good at and then be an expert in that specific space. The moment you say Oh but there are thousands of people doing what I do, you have lost the cutting edge. You have not pioneered the very edge of what it is that you are good at and you are still searching.
The self-inflicted trap of feeling that you don’t know enough GL: I have personally found that advice from you to be awesome David. It’s really been very helpful because I do tend to say … there are so many people with more experience who have the thoughts that I have. I can sometimes put myself down. And then I remember that it’s about my take on something … I have my own special perspective and experience to bring to the conversation. Instead of thinking oh they know more than me, I remember what it is that I bring that is uniquely mine. It’s the female trap of not knowing enough. I see this in other women going on course after course when they know so much already. Particularly when we reinvent ourselves in later life, it’s difficult to know the moment when we are ready to “graduate”. It’s hard for women to know when they are “ready”. We are indeed ready to step out there now. The world needs us with what we have now
DP:if you don’t already know what your calling is, make 2014 the year when you at least start the journey. At least be a disruptor to people’s thinking. If you can’t be a disruptor then be a connector …. Connect people, bring them together. If you can’t be a connector, then be so radical that you transform the space that you are in. Be inspiring or be engaging. At the end of the day, we all have to be compelling …. Whatever the message is, we all have to be compelling.
Gina Lazenby opens: David you work with some very high profile women leaders … tell us something about how they got there. What makes them different to get to where they have got to? We only know them through the filter of the media, we don’t really know what they are like.
Three particular qualities of women’s leadership Dr David Paul responds:Let’s look at three particular qualities that they have. And I’m not talking about managing, I am talking about leading. Very, very different.
1 Credibility how credible are you with your message ….. And the message does not change by the way. It’s not a different message every day. It’s the credibility of the individual …. And as a result of that credibility you have the credibility of the message.
2 Connection – a bringing together of heart and mind Connection also means relationship, and collaboration. It has to be what’s called a true connection. Not just: it’s nice to meet you. Not just having strong networks but having a holistic approach to that connection. So that you are engaging the whole of me not just the mind part of me or not just the heart part of me. It’s a bringing together of the heart and mind in a very different way. If you practice that in 2014 you’ll see the difference that you will make. People will notice, they will say what has she got? I want some of that. You will be emanating the energy of true connection, people will feel this.
3 Being truly authentic The depth of that should transform every interaction when you are truly authentic. You don’t have to strive to change something, it comes to you because you are being.
GL: Have you noticed that some of the women you have worked with have become more authentic when they have moved into their top high-profile leadership position? Sometimes perhaps women try to be who they think people want them to be because the way to reach people has been through the filter of the media. So we don’t necessarily know who these women really are … it seems to me that when these women get to high places of power they become different when they are there. Are you saying that they are authentic all the way through this journey to the top and it’s maybe the way the media are presenting them?
DP:Those who we truly respect and venerate, not those who we see through the media lens …. For those there is no media lens. It is just who they are. Talking about Gandhi and Mother Theresa, you don’t see them in any different light through the media than who they truly are/were. There is an authentic beingness. It is something that transcends presentation.
GL: The last couple of years the key word has been authenticity. That’s the journey for all of us now, to get into that space, especially with the different way that we communicate now with social media. We are in direct communication with the world instead of having a PR company present our image to the world. There used to be a separation where there was the work me, and the private me. It’s all the same now. It’s not about hiding anything, it’s about who am I and how do I present myself to the world?
Authenticity is the key to a new leadership DP:When we are authentic there is no need for ego. We say that in a room full of egos, everyone goes out stupid because that is what the ego does. It prevents you from being that. And I think the connection between leadership and the collective is about being truly authentic. There is something that we have forgotten about being authentic in our journey towards profits and achieving something.
GL: It’s not in our culture and it’s not in our business training. We focus more on the image that we present to the world than we do authenticity. There is no honesty there. What I have seen in British politics is that if individuals speak as an authentic voice with messages that they feel they need to express, rather than towing the party line ….. They either have a very short a life in politics or they get towed in. Politics has not so far allowed the people to be authentic voices.
Attention to ‘Being’ is the way to authenticity DP:I think is not about allowing something it’s about being, because the moment that you allow you have to deal with so many variables … but when you are truly being you there is a level of credibility that nothing can touch. And the power of the collective is power of being authentic.
QUESTION FOR GROUP DISCUSSION …..
What are the leadership qualities of women that will help build robust structures?
What are the qualities that women are bringing to achieve these better results? … see the transcript of the report back from the group.
This is the second video in the series recorded when Dr David was in London in January 2014. He spoke at a special evening on feminine leadership and was in conversation with Gina Lazenby. The transcript of the conversation is below. The dialogue was about …….
the power of changing our conversations
the personal responsibility we each need to take
the importance of individual behaviour change – break the micro patterns!
Change is beckoning… especially at the start of 2014 Gina Lazenby opens: Just referring back to this idea of a movement, and action… the change that we want to see in the world, especially now as we are entering a new year and thinking do we want another year to be the same as before?! …… change is beckoning at every quarter, everything seems to be calling for change. This can be very overwhelming ….. Where do we start? What do I do? You’ve talked about the importance of conversations, those that we have in the elevator, by the water cooler. I have been inspired to use my women’s gatherings to ask the group big questions, taking the conversation beyond what the needs of the women are to now talking about what we might do or say for example, if we had the ear of the leader of our country. We are certainly having bigger conversations. You seem to be making this accessible by saying it’s just about conversations. Speak to the small approaches that we can make it to the big problems.
The small approaches that we can make to the big problem Dr David Paul responds:Generally with change we tend to use the word “WE”. “We need to do this. All others need to do that”. The neuroscience research is showing that the word WE needs to be changed to I. “What do I need to do to change?”. It’s interesting because when you change what it is you do, you disrupt your own thought patterns which causes the change and people notice that change and say to you that you’re different from last year/last time. And this is because you have broken a pattern. I said before that we need to break the rules and change the game and part of the journey for us in 2014 is not ending up in the same space as we did at the end of 2013.
I don’t want to end up in the same space and I hope that none of us do. To change that I need to change what I do every day. I’ll give you an example: when I get up in the morning because of my patterns and my efficiency, I button up my shirt the same old way every day. Or I have the same routine in the shower every day. Can I challenge you in 2014 to do it so differently that even you are surprised by it? Why? Because you are creating new neural pathways. And when you do that I think we bring about a change. 2014 should be so vastly different to 2013 …. But that change begins with me. The familiar also holds you down to the status quo.
GL: That’s the thing about the beginning of the year… Those of us who are really engaged as change-makers, we see not only a New Year but also a new epoch, a new era … there’s a hunger for change. I know the words of Ghandi, I can hear them inside my head ….“To be the change that you want to see in the world” but I am now hearing them differently, I am thinking about the small things. I don’t normally think of those but that is what you are saying … it is the small actions that WILL make the difference. They will change our patterns and our behaviours so that we think about things differently.
DP:Also Ghandi’s message is for each individual. Be the change that you want to see. He didn’t say be the change and we ALL need to do it. It’s me, it’s I. And unless we start to do that, we are not going to see the WE. Because when we say the WE I always think that somebody else can do that.
Dr David was in London in January 2014. He spoke at a special evening on feminine leadership. The conversation with Gina Lazenby was recorded and edited into four parts. This is the first video in the series, with a transcript of the conversation. The dialogue was about …….
how will women use their power when they do get to the top?
how do we challenge the norm and change the game?
what the age of disruption means
how big movements start with small actions, the power of the dedicated few
Gina Lazenby opens: Lots of our conversations at the Brooklyn Institute in Sydney have been about women getting in to leadership positions. One of the measurements for that has been the number of women on boards (this is the case for many countries). We are there in such few numbers, and it is the same for women CEOs.
Research shows that women on boards do have an impact. Research from Credit Suisse highlighted in The Athena Doctrine book says that large companies (with a market valuation over $10 billion) with women on their Boards outperformed companies with men-only Boards by 26% over five years.
that is a great statistic to show what women can do ….
But that is not really the game …
what you have said before is being there is not enough … what do we do with the power when we are there? One of the things you talked about is challenging and changing the norms … changing and upsetting the status quo. Is that enough for us to aim to get on to boards? … and are we going to change the game when we get there?
ALSO …..This week in the newspapers .. commentary from the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas, this newspaper report referred to the Age of Disruption. Brilliant new gadgets are coming on stream that will change the way we raise money, the way we monitor our health, our home security .. all these new technologies are exciting and game-changing and it says they are a “stark challenge to established ways of doing business… the major trends at the show have major potential to upset the status quo challenging the business models of large companies and raising big questions about how government runs public services and seek to control the economy”. This is a great metaphor for this conversation about women needing to challenge the status quo.
It’s time for women to challenge the norms Dr David Paul responds:You asked some very interesting questions, big questions. Changing the norm does not happen on a global scale. It happens at the level of one-to-one. And it is the power of the collective that makes the difference. So my conversation with you, as a result of what we are talking about tonight, and then your conversation with somebody else… and then their conversation … etc …… is the one that makes the biggest change. But more often than not we tend to have conversations that have no purpose apart from a discussion.
I think one of the things we need to do is rather than discussing in 2014 we need to say what can we do? What is the outcome of this discussion and every discussion then becomes a game-changer.
So that article you are talking about is where they have gone beyond discussion … they are now into Apps. So what are the Apps doing? They are actually creating moments of action, moments of Let’s Change the Game. So, for us to go forward this year I think is about breaking some of those rules. Norms are there to hold us to those rules but they have been invented a long time ago ….. It’s about breaking the rules and changing the game.
GL: One of the things that you have said to me was a wonderful phrase Radical Revolutionary Reform. I was struck by you saying that since Women got the vote, and we got together to do that, we haven’t come together as a movement of women. What I do notice when I travel is the huge number of women’s networks, organisations and communities who are gathering. There are so many more opportunities for women to congregate and connect. The woman who runs the Global PA network said that in the 1990s there were 8 to 10 women’s networks in London. Now there are more like 800+ just in London. Women are connecting globally and the Feminine Power network have had as many as 100,000 women on phone calls. in about 2010, Maria Shriver had a women’s event that was sold out to over 30,000 women in LA. There is a lot happening in this rise of the feminine. How do we create a second movement, a coordinated movement?
It’s time for a holistic movement of women (and men) all connecting together DP:I would say a holistic movement. Some of the discussions we had tonight, each one has said we need both (men and women) …. Part of that is harnessing the energy of both and a movement is always created by a small handful of dedicated individuals. It has never happened any other way. So as impressive as 30,000 women gathering in one place is, my question would be what have they done?
GL: That is a great question!
The importance of the Dedicated Few DP:And you don’t need 30,000. In fact, stats show. We only need 12 ½% of committed individuals to bring about a change. In this room that would be 2 ½ people. But imagine if ALL of us did it? That would make a difference. It’s not about the great movements and the great numbers, it’s about the commitment of the dedicated few. And massive change has happened because of that. Mahatma Gandhi in 1947, when the British were taxing the salt in India. He said, well let’s make our own salt. It didn’t take millions of individuals, all it took was a handful of people to say I can make my own salt. Break down the big goal into smaller pieces… the book you have to write, just start with one chapter so that it does not feel like a mountain to climb.
The key is to break it down into something small … then it is achievable. GL: Something that stuck with me last year as a game changer was hearing the news about the government shutdown in America. It was because the Senate could not come to an agreement. Then three weeks later there was a breakthrough. Sen Mark Pryor was speaking on television news crediting a small group of women senators who had come together to create a small working group to open up negotiations and help break the deadlock. These women were from a cross party group of 20 women senators, who regularly met for pizza supper and baby showers. They had developed relationships and formed community. This is what they were able to leverage at that moment of need when all the dialogue between the male senators had stopped. Because the men couldn’t agree their communication had degraded down to insults. Nobody was able to move forward.
Women are already changing the game
So the women asked, what would it take to move forward? What are we each prepared to give, be flexible with, in these negotiations? The women Senators led this new conversation. It was great that the male senators took time to publicly acknowledge the role of the women senators. The men said they just stood back and watched the women at work, and learned from them. We women need to do more of that. It was great that the men championed this and so publicly acknowledged the role the women played.
What are the qualities that women are bringing to achieve better results? DP: Perhaps we should ask: What are the qualities that will take us forward from 2014 for the next six years until 2020? What other qualities we need to bring about the global change?
Group Discussions: What are the leadership qualities of women that will help build robust structures? It is clear that when we are in positions of power, and in quantity, we are making a difference. Recent research highlighted by the Athena Doctrine book showed that over a nine year period, hedge funds run by women outperformed those run by only men. What are the qualities that women are bringing to achieve these kind of results?
On January 8, 2014 we were extremely lucky to have Dr David Paul visit London on his way back to Sydney, Australia. As a much sought-after MBA educator and advisor to government leaders in G20 countries, David knows a thing or two about leadership and his favourite subject …. complex change. His skill is to be able to show people with great clarity the very different and simple approaches that are now being called forth in order to answer the world’s pressing and complex problems.
A group of 20 men and women professionals gathered at my London home and as we opened the evening circle, we discussed what had called us to be present that evening. People shared their passion for the subject of feminine leadership; an interest in the emerging role of women, feminine wisdom, the new language required to talk about gender, the different values expressed by the feminine and masculine, how caring and love are increasingly important in business today, how leadership is changing and the role women are playing. As you can imagine, with a room full of leaders and change-makers passionate for the subject, it made for a very exciting atmosphere. The conversation was extremely rich.
I have had the honour to interview David three times before in Sydney and from this huge repository of material created over the last 18 months I have published 13 video conversations about feminine leadership. They are a goldmine of information (I should write a book!). I have found them to be personally life changing for me.
On this evening we continued the thread of our previous dialogue. There are four videos …. each one has been fully transcribed. It’s a wonderful resource if you too are interested in the conversation of:
* the rise of women,
* the changing nature of leadership,
* the increased appreciation of feminine values
* and insights into the way gender balance will affect the world.
There is also a blog post collating the groups’ discussion and report back on the question: what are the qualities that women are bringing to achieve outstanding financial results in business? (videos will be loaded during January)
how will women use their power when they do get to the top?
how do we challenge the norm and change the game?
what the age of disruption means
how big movements start with small actions, the power of the dedicated few
the power of changing our conversations
the personal responsibility we each need to take
the importance of individual behaviour change – break the micro patterns!
the high profile women leaders in government and business that David has mentored have three particular qualities expressed in their leadership – what are these?
Q&A session with David where he makes key distinctions about the difference between credibility and being authentic
Blog post 5:
The qualities and traits of women that achieve different outcomes in business – better culture, higher returns on investment, more profitability.
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts in the comments below …. are there any insights in here that speak to you?
A little bit about Dr David Paul’s background
Dr David Paul is a unique specialist in new forms of Leadership, Complexity and Large-Scale Organisational Change. He is an experienced educator, senior advisor and confidential mentor to CEOs, Heads of Government and Ministers. David teaches in post-grad management and leadership programs in Australia, Asia and Europe and has lectured to over 25,000 MBA managers & executives as well as has facilitating over 1500 seminars and workshops in complexity, change and leadership.
David regularly advises public and private companies and their senior teams, including the 2008 Beijing Olympics Committee, in the area of large-scale organisational transformation. David has often worked on highly classified assignments with heads of governments in the areas of Leadership, Complex Change and transforming internal cultures.
The winner of the Templeton Prize, established author, leading academic, Biologist, Philosopher, Ecologist, renowned Scientist and Emeritus Professor Charles Birch, (Presented with the prize at Buckingham Palace as the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in Science and Philosophy, as there is no Nobel Prize in this field), wrote in his book “Regaining Compassion”: “I dedicate this book to David Paul…. He combines a commitment and openness which I find quite rare these days. His life has been a light on the path for many who have been fortunate enough to come to know him. Through knowing him I have asked questions, I would not have asked and pursued issues I would not otherwise have explored”.
I have just been reading Lynne McTaggart’s latest book The Bond. In the intro she talks about the world we have now which, post Global Financial crisis of 2008 and other significant events in the last decade, quite clearly, no longer works. It really does not serve humanity in the way it should. Right in the introduction she points out that “We urgently need a new story to live by……. We need some new rules to live by. We need another way to be.”
In a nutshell that is what our latest video is about in the conversation series between myself and Dr David Paul, a Sydney-based expert on global leadership and complex change. Because of his expertise in complexity and his gift for expressing his ideas in such beautiful, clear and simple language, David has often been called on to give advice to world leaders and senior government leaders all over the globe.
If you think about it, the problems we face today are indeed so extremely complex and go way beyond the expertise that any one single person could now be expected to provide. It’s as if the solutions are destined to emerge from many sources rather than already residing somewhere and our job is simply to find out where and who has the secrets. No single source has the answers now……. but together, using different thinking, we have a chance of bringing forth some new answers.
Lynne talks about the current world order which is failing us having grown out of three Revolutions which originally held such promise (the Scientific Revolution in the 1600s and the two Industrial Revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries). A culture of what she calls “competitive individualism” is what we have now created and this has disconnected us from a much saner, fulfilling and holistic existence. I mention Lynne’s book here because in this video you will hear David calls for change and says that in actual fact, another revolutionis what is needed now. He says we have gone so far down a path of destruction that the system is way beyond tweaking. Now, only radical, revolutionary reform will bring us back from the brink. And he feels that this next new global revolution needs to be in the hands of women who are the only unheard voice left.
I was quite taken aback when David first said this. I have had these stirring thoughts in my head for some time now … what would that revolution look like? How do we start it? If we as women take leadership, then how do we enrol the men in it for it is not a revolution against men. It’s more a push-back against a patriarchal system and masculine way that has trapped and failed the majority of men too. So even though I don’t yet know what the revolution will look like, I am clear that it is feminine leadership that is most needed to get it started and maybe see it through….
The conversation on the video is about how women are leaving middle management in droves and so removing themselves from the pipeline that supplies the most senior women to join organisations at Board level. David talks about the choices that face women and how they often opt for a work / life balance so they can accommodate the needs of family and their many roles. These choices often lead to taking a part-time option which is generally seen as giving less commitment to the corporation (in favour of family) and so is penalised by taking those women out of the frame for the top leadership jobs.
In pointing out that change is usually most effective when it comes from the bottom as a grass-roots initiative or movement, David is again challenging us to think about what we, as women, with our different thinking, different perspectives, different needs can bring to bring to the table. What new questions can we ask… what new ways of being and working can we model so that we indeed spark a revolution and so actually start to bring forth what Lynne McTaggart calls for in her urging for a new story for humanity?
I’d be interested in your responses and ideas …… I am not letting this drop. This is not a throwaway line in a conversation although it is true I could just have left it at that. But no, it is time to create change, it’s a call that I cannot ignore. Can you? It’s time to be a leader in change and model new ways of being, living, working and leading … the feminine way. I know you have been thinking about how YOU would do things differently. It’s time to share what you are doing in your own life or enterprise or inside your corporation that is going to create this new story, this new way of working, living and being. Men and women … we have to find a new way. Answers on a postcard please …….. email me … comment .. tweet me … let’s continue the conversation.
The third video in the series of conversations on Feminine Leadership with Dr David Paul…
While I was in Australia a report was issued by the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency presenting census data from the last decade showing what little progress women have made in the upper ranks of corporate Australia. Subsequent media coverage trumpeted the headline: ‘Reform Key to Women’s Progress.’ Unless something radically different is done, most commentators were saying that change is just never going to happen.
63% of the top 500 companies had no female senior execs at all
63% of the top 500 companies (on the Australian Stock Exchange) had no female senior execs. None. And Australia trails its overseas peers with only 9.2% of female board directors (in ASX500 companies). Compare with the UK which has just 13.2% of females on the boards of the top 250 FTSE companies and 16.5% in the USA on Fortune 500 company boards.
The CEO of ANZ Bank Mike Smith was quoted as saying ”More radical approaches are called for … to drive more women into senior leadership positions … Businesses need to take the time to understand what is needed and take direct action to ensure more women thrive and advance in our workplaces”.
It is clear that companies need to implement structural change to appoint and develop strong pipelines of female talent. When a top male leadership team wakes up to the shifts happening across the planet and decides to appoint women they find the queue of women waiting outside the boardroom door has gone. Those who were actually waiting for a boardroom place probably weren’t standing in the line anyway, but they became impatient and left .. some went downstairs and elsewhere in the organisation to part-time roles so they could juggle family life, others walked out the building, some even left their industry … all so that they could find other creative, flexible, more rewarding and nourishing ways to express themselves and make a living.
Why are there less women in management waiting for those top positions?
I asked Dr David Paul why he thought there were less women in management and therefore not waiting in the pipeline of talent for the top jobs. His response is captured in third video in the second series of conversations on Feminine Leadership.
David said that women have realised that they don’t want to play the male political game anymore, they just want to do the job, get on with it and get home. They don’t want to spend every night working late as many executives are unreasonably expected to do. The masculine culture does not work for them so they seek employment elsewhere often starting their own enterprises. Certainly in the UK & USA, women are behind more start-ups than men. David says this is a huge loss of talent which also impacts the culture of a business when senior and promising women leave.
“There’s a huge gap and now we’ve gone back to the military style of leadership which is, you’ve got a general at the top and we’ve got all the forces down below. Whereas now, we’ve passed that metaphor. We need to say, “How can we partner? How can we expand? How can we grow together? I think part of the problem with women’s slow progress, with some of the articles that we’re seeing, is that men are fearful of what do we have to give up. Women are fearful of what do we have to give in to?”
What we need in order to see more women stay in management is a whole culture change. Even the chief executive of the ANZ, Mike Smith, is talking about taking a radical approach. We need to involve women in creating a culture change. What’s up for reinvention is the whole nature of work and finding a way to make it a more nourishing and compassionate workspace for women and men.
David continued, “I have a feeling that if women were at senior levels, they would say, “Let’s all take a pay cut at the senior levels but let’s keep the people that we have.” I’m not talking about the corporate deadwood. I’m talking about people who actually add value to the organisation. I think we need to smash the notion of thinking outside the box, as well. What we need to do is smash the box and start with a completely new shape and say, “What can we create together?”
The article headline in The Australian newspaper says “Reform key to women’s progress”. Let’s take this a step further and turn this the other way round … women ARE the key to reform. Do you agree?
Dr David Paul is a Sydney-based expert in global leadership and complex change.
It’s International Women’s Day so if you are going to ask the question “What if women ruled the world” today would be the perfect one.In today’s BBC News magazineonline, political analyst and former White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers says that this may have been a ridiculous thought at one time in history but it is now a topic that can be seriously discussed.More and more studies highlight the differences in men and women and Christine Lagarde, MD of the International Monetary Fund reflected in the BBC magazine on what might have happened during the Global Financial Crisis if there had been “more Lehman sisters than Brothers”. The outcome would likely have been different she says since “women have a very different risk-taking profile to men”with a much more questioning approach to all the end possibilities. When asked what a world ruled by women would look like she came up with 4 key observations. There would be:
1 a better balanced world
2 more focus & concern on health & education, these are more of a priority to women
3 more peace: women bear children and somehow taking them to war is much more frightening for mothers then men
4 women will be more inclusive because we have been excluded for a long time.
Included in the Forbes List of Most Powerful Women, Christine Lagarde is number 8 in the category of the 100 Women who actually do run the world now so she is not speaking from fantasy. Number two on that same list is Hillary Clinton. She was the USA Secretary of State at the time the list was compiled (the third female to hold that high office) but if she fulfills her ambition to be President of the USA then she will take that number one spot for sure.
In the second video in the series of conversation on Feminine Leadership with Dr David Paul, we talk about Hillary and her potential ambitions for that top job. I cannot hide my enthusiasm for this scenario. If you you think about it, gender aside, there couldn’t be a better career politician who is more experienced and well-primed for this role. It’s potentially the world’s most important job and she has already been in the White House for 12 years! Nobody else has had that training and preparation with important relationships already established and in place. She could hit the ground running. David Paul follows Hillary’s work closely and says he has seen her “put her mark on the world saying ‘Let’s move forward, let’s work together, let’s be partners’ ”. That feminine approach of seeking more balanced outcomes is exactly what Christine Lagarde spoke of us achieving. Watch the video
Women who do decide to step need our support
Speaking as neither a Republican or a Democrat, my dearest wish is that she does give it a go and that we do give her a chance. It would be the closet thing to having the women rule the worldscenario start to take effect. That’s only a catchy phrase anyway because none of us truly want to wrest control out of every man’s hand, we simply want balanced leadership and balanced decision-making. Without that balance we are not going to have that game-changing shift in culture and policy that is needed to pull the world back from its current trajectory of self destruction.
In our interview we also talk about the vote last November by the Church of England which failed to back the promotion of women to Bishops. In a Guardian editorial Joan Smith writes that “the General Synod vote runs against the current of history, which suggests that women are increasingly voting for politicians who favour equality, such as President Obama.” So when we find out that half the lay members of the church who voted against were women it is hard not to be dispirited. David points out that it is really an issue of not wanting to rock the boat and challenge the status quo. “If you’re a conservative woman in the Church of England, the prospect of “pushy” women getting power is quite scary, so of course you’re going to vote against it. The last thing any traditional woman wants to be accused of is appearing confrontational” saysanother Guardian editorial.
We have to look at our resistance to the change we want!
This is definitely where we have to create change, dialoguing together and exploring these underlying fears so that we can unite on a future that is neither about pushy women nor those who are against their own gender rising up.
It is this deep resistance to change to David says stops many women using our power …. if we had opened this doorway before then we would have taken huge steps in our cultural revolution as human beings. When women do step up as leaders, they don’t receive respect and support, from men or women. That is a key attitude we need to change .. supporting women who put themselves forward in service of their communities and countries to make a difference and created much-needed change.
Go Hillary I say. I am behind her 100%
I’m just using the energy of International Women’s Day to put it out there for Hillary …. let’s start our quest for change with her in the top job opening the doors for many other women to follow
I think they do, judging by what I saw when I was in Australia.
During my last visit to Sydney I had the good fortune to spend time again with leadership expert Dr David Paul. The video series I did with him last year, with seven conversations on Feminine Leadership recorded on video, were extremely popular. We continued our conversation and another six videos have been created which I shall release over the next month. (Here is the link to the blog post with all seven of the previous interviews collated together)
What are we expecting from women leaders? More positive dialogue needed ….
Kicking off our first session in November, was the discussion about the Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Of course, as the PM she will be in the media all the time but I noticed how disrespectful some of the reporting about her often is in the papers. This may be increasingly true for many heads of state in the western world (a colleague of mine talked about how the largely Republican-slanted TV news during the election coverage referred to Obama without the use of ‘President’ in front of his name which they had normally done before …). It does seems that more is expected of this first female leader in Australia and she is attracting much more criticism.
And then came the most downloaded political speech in history!
It is one thing to be forced to debate and defend policy decisions, it is quite another to receive a deluge of personal attacks as she says she has done. So one morning in Parliament she hit back at Opposition Leader Tony Abbot and gave the famous misogynist speech which apparently has turned out to be the most downloaded political speech in history. In the Australian media it was given quite a bit of negative reporting but outside in the rest of the world it seems it was universally applauded. And obviously more so by women commentators.
As David Paul points out, she gave chapter and verse of what she said were comments and actions that she found deeply offensive ….. this is what you said, this is how you made me feel. It is quite unprecedented for a woman leader to speak out in such a strong way. If you watch the video of her speech (and there is a full transcript too, courtesy of the Sydney Morning Herald) you will see her refer to a placard that Tony Abbot apparently stood next to with the words “Ditch the Witch”. Needless to say she found that offensive. He also suggests at some point that the unmarried Prime Minster make an honest woman of herself and on another occasion refers to the housewives of Australia doing their ironing. Comments like that are never going to go down well.
This speech followed some press reporting about inappropriate comments by a government minister and also much-talked about comments about how the Prime Minister’s father, who had recently passed away, must have “died of shame” because of how Julia Gillard is performing. You can’t quite believe that a public figure would actually say that! I think Julia had had enough. She took a very important topic about how society sees and treats women, and gave it a very public airing.
Many male politicians have what Julia Gillard calls “in my view such old fashioned and close-minded attitudes. I was not going to sit silent”
I don’t know opposition leader Tony Abbot – he’s a husband and father to daughters and I am sure he wants the best for them. I think there are some underlying attitudes that are coming out which show the confusion for how women public figures and women in professional life are treated. This also came out during Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in the USA when he talked about being presented with “binders full of women” when he was looking for more female applicants for his cabinet. That comment, and others, set off a massive furore across the USA. It was very demeaning.
Thinking that women are ‘less than’ in some way comes from a culture where throughout history, women’s rights have been secondary. How women have subsequently been treated is all on a continuum. Somewhere in the negative spectrum is a lack of understanding and disrespect, while shift further along to the other end and we see extreme behaviour of violence and complete subjugation.
Men need to be engaged in this conversation
This month violence against women has been brought to the fore by Eve Ensler’s campaign launched on Valentines Day called One Billion Rising. There seems to be have been a wave of action across the planet where men and women are taking up this issue to stop violence by a new kind of activism based on celebration and dancing. I definitely think this is a much more creative and enrolling way to engage men in this conversation with women. For change will not come from women setting themselves against men … violence against women, and men, will only stop when we both work together to create the cultural change needed to make violence a thing of the past.
The treatment of women by corporate leaders, politicians, law-makers, police and out on the streets is really becoming a weekly conversation in the media with the most dramatic shift happening after the horrific rape in Delhi at the end of 2012.
Time for women to take leadership in change
David Paul ends this interview with a statement about strong leadership saying that “women are just coming to knowing what that power is”. Exciting times ahead … women finding their voice, connecting with their power, bringing about change…. yes it is time for us to really understand what power we have and how we can use it to help create a balanced, fairer society and a safe world. What does it take ? .. each one of us to step up and speak out whenever the opportunity presents itself …. or to decide what opportunities we ourselves will create.
Now there’s a thought …. what opportunities are you interested in creating?