HR Magazine has a brief report on a study of the respective strengths of women and men in leadership. No great surprises here; indeed mostly statements of the proverbial bleedin’ obvious.
But note that’s going on. The writer is making the best of men’s “strengths,” though they are more strategic weaknesses. Two picked out are making a good first impression, and being good at getting their careers to progress. Yes, well.
By contrast, woman excel at completing projects on time, inter-personal relations, planning, organizing, listening, and on and on.
What the article does not highlight is that these “women” key skills are in higher demand in the context of change. And what’s the watchword of century 21? Exactly. Exponential, disruptive change. So men’s key skills which were a good fit with most aspects of the Fordist mass-production, bureaucratic age (which of course they devised) are now increasingly being marginalized. Which is why the push for diversity in executive leadership and the boardroom does not need to be focused on equity, simply on alignment with the central focus of 21st century business. Diversity as such is more significant in change contexts, but the distinctly female traits are key. That’s where competitive advantage and value will lie.