There are many reasons to foster an Integrated Leadership culture--one that values, leverages, and blends the strengths of both women and men--in your organization. Gender-balanced leadership perspectives can lead to a wide range of benefits at the organizational, team, and individual levels.
The latest research published at the end of 2015 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences tells us that men and women are not always different when it comes to thinking, communications, and problem-solving. However, studies have found that the diversity of strategies and approaches often seen between men and women go beyond gender and genetics.
Such distinctions may instead be based on different socialization patterns, cultural work orientation, and other factors experienced uniquely by each gender. What's important to note is that these unique distinctions between men and women can become the secret sauce for managers if properly understood, integrated, and leveraged in day-to-day business.
Here are just a few examples of how this approach can benefit organizations and teams:
- Organizational change efforts. While change in organizations is constant, many leaders continue to struggle when attempting to guide their teams through complex change. In times of organizational overhaul, managers can use Integrated Leadership to communicate with a style that balances factual realities with empathy, thereby addressing employees' potential sense of fear, loss, and frustration. This approach can help people ultimately accept or support the change, and do what is necessary for successful implementation.
Embracing an integrated approach to leadership also holds great value for individuals, including these potential benefits:
- Career development. Each individual has unique strengths that result in being better at some things than others, more motivated to get involved in certain types of tasks, and more often recognized for specific kinds of contributions. Leaders who take the time to understand these individual nuances may find that this information helps them guide people of both genders more effectively, whether by mapping career goals or choosing development activities that synergistically align with their strongest skills and interests.
In short, better-balanced leadership leads to better business results at every level, from individuals and teams to the wider organization. There is simply no better way to maximize everyone's full potential than to adopt an Integrated Leadership model.