I have blogged about Male EQ before and it’s time to turn the focus on women. Last week I saw an interview with facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg on her book Lean In. I know many of my readers will disagree with me on my take on her central premise. Therefore, my qualifier to this week’s blog is that as a minority myself, I am all for equality in all dimensions of life and have been a fierce advocate against all forms of discrimination in our society. That said, I think Sheryl has it wrong.
She gave an example of kids in a playground and how if a boy were assertive in his demands, he is acknowledged as being a leader. If a girl demonstrated the same behavior as the boy, she would be labeled something offensive. Sheryl thinks girls should be applauded equally for these masculine traits, making the assumption that these masculine attributes are in fact leadership attributes and desirable for the world we live in.
It is my contention that Sheryl has it all backwards. The overwhelming majority of masculine traits are in reality grossly outdated leadership and societal traits, and in fact quite destructive for the collaborative workplace culture required in this knowledge economy. Women do not need to be like men, is my point. To the contrary they need to be the opposite of men. Women have a superior inherent advantage over men, and instead of being proud of the skills they possess, trying to abandon them just to break into a man’s glass ceiling is the wrong paradigm model. From the gender inequality in prisons, to historical data on crimes against humanity, to perpetrators of hate and discrimination – men almost exclusively own these terrible titles. Why would women want to be like men just because men play dirty, are ruthless, pursue goals without conscious, and have empty souls? I am obviously making exaggerations here but not by much. My message to Sheryl and women is that your skills are infinitely more powerful than the attributes of men you may think you need in order to be a leader.
This week, make a list of all the leadership attributes you think are most relevant for your workplace. Once you have completed this list, put an X for the attribute you think is predominantly exhibited by men and a Y against those exhibited by women. Do the math. Who wins?