May I Have Your Attention Please?

by Terri Burnett, Executive Director of ProvenWay Ministries

In an article written by Forbes magazine this year specifically to men on the benefits of female leadership, I found this Darwin-influenced paragraph very interesting: “What is the key to species survival?  It is not a function of how strong the species is, or how smart, or how successful it has been in the past.  The key to species survival is a function of how easily it can adapt to environmental changes. If you lead an organization that wants to survive in the 21st century, I suggest you pay attention.”

The growing number of women in leadership (of which I am one) are a big part of our changing environment, and there are many reasons why.  Here are a few of my favorites:

The Pew Research Center,  a nonpartisan American think tank based in Washington, D.C.,  did a leadership study of 2,250 adults, and women were rated higher on a spectrum of leadership qualities including honesty, intelligence, diligence, compassion and creativity.  So that means we are a bunch of truth telling, smart, hard-working, caring creatives – who wouldn’t want all that in the mix?!

In the book “Ways Women Lead” by Judy Rosenger, she refers to one style of leadership women often excel in as  “interactive leadership.”   Women are more likely to use relational skills to influence others, encourage participation, share power and information, and heighten followers’ self esteem.  We are usually good at giving attention to others.

If you are a woman in a company or organization who feels unappreciated- know that in this changing environment, attentions are shifting to focus on skill-based leadership and not just gender-based.  So hang in there!  If you are a man who hasn’t recognized the contributions of women leading well – I suggest you pay attention!

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