Cheryl offers: There’s a lot of debate in the media right now over whether or not more women in the upper ranks of the financial leadership ranks would have prevented the current economic situation. In most of them, women and men seem to get “labeled” with all kinds of characteristics, usually stated as if they were fact based on profound research; usually they are not. Samuel Taylor Coleridge once said. “The truth is, a great mind must be androgynous” and I tend to agree with him. This infers a great mind would have both female and male characteristics (the best of both worlds so to speak). In Daniel H. Pink’s book, “A Whole New Mind – Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future” he proposes the idea we are moving from the Information Age, dominated by an economy and society built on logical, linear, and computer-like capabilities (think left brain hemisphere and robotic traders on Wall Street) to one called the Conceptual Age characterized by inventive, empathetic, big picture thinking found primarily in the right hemisphere of the brain. Hmmm…makes me wonder if he’s not right! How different would our world be if the financial world had not been driven so much by numbers and had instead considered the long-term big picture with an empathetic view on the potential impact on those being affected. This is neither a male nor female view of the world. It’s androgynous and requires the whole brain to be engaged. Research has repeatedly proven more women in upper ranks of leadership will produce better financial and qualitative results. I vote for androgynous leadership rather than new financial laws!
Sara adds: I hadn’t thought about leadership that way, but I like it. Imagine a world where leaders are assessed by the competencies rather than gender or ethnicity! It echoes Jim Collins’ idea of leadership in Good to Great. “Level 5 leaders channel their ego needs away from themselves and into the larger goal of building a great company. It’s not that Level 5 leaders have no ego or self-interest. Indeed, they are incredibly ambitious – but their ambition is first and foremost for the institution, not themselves. “ It is the best of both genders – just think consider the possibilites!