Monday, 27 October 2014
Gender is a leadership issue
Another tale from the cutting room floor.
This piece was eventually excluded from the final manuscript because, as the editors noted, it is worthy of a book in its own right. I would agree.
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Alaric Mostyn, founder of Stonecourt Consulting and now a colleague at Jericho Chambers, has been one of the more vocal and important crowd-contributors to this book.
“There is” he writes “a strong simple point to be made about women, especially in leadership and leadership teams. All the current new research confirms that the more women in leadership, the more the likely the 'bad' things will reduce and the 'good' will increase. Because it is no coincidence that Fred Goodwin was male. Token women are no good, we need 50%+ women in leadership. They are less hormonally volatile, less concerned about 'winning', less focused on knowing all the answers, and being in control.”
Hormonal volatility is real. During the final phases of writing, I met one woman executive who had experienced an early menopause at the age of 31. She was subsequently treated with oestrogen and testosterone. She recounted how the medication impacted not only her moods but also her judgment. When I was given more testosterone, she confided, I lost any sense of nuance in my decision-making.
This is not an argument in favour of quotas or positive discrimination. Alaric is right. Public Leadership cannot be trusted to the next generation of pale, male and stale leaders – the fifty-something men who pass the baton to forty-something lookalike and soundalike successors. Across business and politics, it is probably time to skip a generation altogether.