Women On Top

As I flew to the East Coast to spend time with my nephew last week I was riveted by a series of three prescient articles in More Magazine. The first, by Hanna Rosin, titled “Why Testosterone is the New Estrogen” cites compelling examples from her recent book, The End of Men—And the Rise of Women that illuminate how traditional masculine leadership skills like hair-trigger decision-making and “pumped up confidence” have become more of a liability than an advantage. Instead, the skills most valued in our leaders today are negotiation, collaboration, flexibility and empathy. Behaviors once considered weak or “feminine” are now being sought out as the crucial skill-set to carry us through crisis and revive our shaky economy.

One key instigator of this sea change, as Rosin observes, is the emphasis in the new service economy on social and emotional intelligence, open communication, and “the ability to sit still and focus.” In my view, these attributes are also gaining respect and well-deserved prominence because creativity and higher level solutions emerge with a multitude of perspectives—the fruits of relationship. Women are natural relationship builders—communicators, community makers, connectors, and networkers. We are at a critical time and place in the evolution of our civilization where the problems we face can only be solved from a more united and interdependent perspective.

No doubt, the rising visibility of women will contribute to the inevitable power shift—where as Rosin says, “the lopsided hierarchy with men dominating the tippy-top” topples. But let’s hope that the rise of women doesn’t mean the end of men! Let’s transcend the binary point of view that someone has to be on top. I know that whenever I relate from a position of imagining that I’m above or below someone (superior or inferior) communication is thwarted.

There is a new kind of leadership emerging that is an integration of what I call, Power and Grace. It is leadership that recognizes the need to activate and rebalance the masculine and feminine power within each person and the outward sharing of power between men and women in our world.

I’m excited about the emerging possibilities for humanity as feminine values continue to rise and all voices are welcomed. After spending nine days with my eleven-year old nephew who has been diagnosed with ADHD it is clear that this same set of skills (especially the ability to sit still and focus) will help him cultivate his passions and be successful in life. In the new world we’re birthing we need everyone’s talents and gifts at the table regardless of gender.

In my upcoming newsletter I will delve into how to achieve this critical balance.The key to our flourishing depends on finding a new kind of partnership as men and women, and even more importantly, activating and integrating our internal masculine and feminine strengths. I will also comment on the remaining two articles in the abovementioned Series “The Next Big Leap for Women”: “Vaginas Rule” by Naomi Wolf and Courtney Martin’s “Women as Masters of the New “Better-Off.”