Getting fit for the Future: New Gender Perspectives & Co-Creative Leadership
Leadership, Change and Power
If you want to create an alternative solution, you have to put
the new structure in place while the other is crumbling.
Plato’s Philosopher King in The Republic
We are at a time of unprecedented change. The uncertainties of market forces, financial and political upheavals, changing demographics and rising populations challenge leaders and increase public appetite for organisations that demonstrate genuine responsiveness and awareness of their corporate responsibilities. Never before has the world signalled so strongly that leaders will have to undergo a paradigm shift in thinking and acting to command companies that are fit for the future.
The immediate impact will be on the definition of power. Corporate leaders will no longer be able to rely on the power invested in roles with clear hierarchical structures as their sole mark of authority. According to the think tank Business in the Community “The days of command and control and influencing based solely on the power of position are disappearing.”
Key characteristics of leaders now required are advanced relational skills and transparency; the capacity to reflect on and learn from experience, to solicit and integrate feedback from others; to remain open to re-evaluate beliefs in the face of information that contradicts ‘the known’, while maintaining clarity about priorities and goals; and vigilance in assessing the connection between values and actions.
Despite understandable resistance to such ground-breaking changes, we suggest that organisations ready to embrace this inevitable re-evaluation will gain previously unimaginable advantages. Enlightened leadership will play a decisive role in the restructuring needed to seize the opportunities of the new globally-connected, increasingly value-driven and informed world.
Only genuine self-knowledge and a sense of Authentic Internal Authority will allow leaders to deliver and inspire authentic innovative and creative leadership. In short, what future-fit organizations will now require are psychologically integrated leaders with advanced relationship skills.
The biggest obstacles towards making this shift are the gendered versions of power held by societies at large and unconsciously absorbed by us all through out our lives. “Most people in organizations, including women, do not view their work practices as having anything do to with gender,” says Robin Ely, Harvard Professor of Business Administration. But the erosion of traditional gender roles means that we are required to reassess our beliefs about gender and cooperate with the inevitable social pressures for increased diversity. Yet mostly we remain ignorant of the wellspring of new resources that developing gender capabilities brings.
New Gender Perspectives for Leadership Development
Change before you have to! Jack Welsh, ex-Ceo of GE.
The challenge all organisations now face is to uncover the unique qualities and authority of each sex and to release the full power of their combined creativity. Men and women are equally capable fulfilling leadership positions but bring with them marked differences in terms of untapped potential and unrecognised resistances. Until organisations have integrated an understanding of both genders’ uniqueness they cannot move beyond old paradigm attitudes to power or the limitations of a diversity approach that will still replicate stereotypical gender roles.
Here are some brief examples of classic sticking points:
A woman who is ignorant and/or afraid of her own power as a women may try to please or make herself smaller for fear of being seen as too aggressive. Alternatively, she may swing to the other pole to prove herself be as tough as the boys. A man, on the other hand, may overdo it in maintaining his sense of masculine power and identity; because of his fear of criticism and being undermined he reacts over defensively rather than responding creatively.
A strong grounded gender identity and informed respect for the opposite sex are the foundations for having true choice. Without it, men and women alike are prone to be reactive, and thereby loose power in personal interactions rather than free to respond creatively to the tasks at hand. New gender perspectives are pivotal to affect these changes.
Co-Creative Leadership for a Potent Future
Finding new ways to unleash the full potential of men and women’s combined creativity cannot happen without a willingness to take risks, learn new ways and experiment. Mainstreaming diversity initiatives of an organization is only a beginning. Integrating the staggering creative potential of the two genders means organizational cultures will to benefit from the potent difference in thinking and acting that the truly co-creative partnership between men and women offers.
The Centre for Gender Psychology has researched these issues for nearly two decades. Looking at leadership from a gender perspective it offers organizations the opportunity to develop competencies that will support their men and women to become emotionally intelligent, collaborative leaders, rooted in authentic internal authority, successful in creating organizations that are fit for the future, today. We call this new leadership style Co-Creative Leadership.
Organizational Workshops with the Centre for Gender Psychology
Responding to the shifting roles of the sexes and changing global expectations, the Centre for Gender Psychology has undertaken some twenty years of dedicated clinical research into optimal ways that men and women can express their differences and discover new forms of creative cooperation. Our findings demonstrate that organisations who fail to understand the nature and value of the complimentary differences between men and women will miss out on the huge advantages readily available from the harnessing the unique potential for combined creativity and authentic leadership.
Our experience suggests the necessity for a new paradigm in leadership, fit for an ever more uncertain and rapidly evolving future: Co-Creative Leadership.
The Centre for Gender Psychology has developed sound theories and exercises that explain and demonstrate the importance of forming a grounded gender identity in order to realise the full potential of potent co-creative relationships in personal, social, and organisational settings. Our thesis and practice is supported by the work we have undertaken with men and women in a variety of contexts throughout UK, Scandinavia & Europe. Our trainings and presentations offer a stimulating and thought-provoking mix of accessible teaching and experiential learning.
Our goal is to facilitate an immediately applicable awareness of the following:
• How and why gender issues constantly and unconsciously determine the performance of leaders in organisations
• How our Gender Imaginative Tendencies shape traditional roles and stereotypes
• Why engaging with Gender Evolutionary Tasks is necessary to develop beyond traditional gender based limitations
• How to avoid previously taken-for-granted impasses to release compassion and creativity for energetic and collaborative leadership
• How men can recognise and develop their masculine Receptive Creative Power, freeing up potent energy previously tied-up in defensiveness to confidently enjoy win-win benefits
• How women can recognise and develop their feminine Active Assertive Power, step out of self-betrayal and into self-possession to confidently enjoy win-win benefits
• How leaders inhabiting their Gender Ground liberates their Authentic Inner Authority
All theoretical terms will be explained and demonstrated. A short presentation is often enough to whet appetites, because the elements of transformation already lie dormant within each man and woman waiting to be released and refined. However, in order to reap benefits a more sustained programme will be required. In which case an organisation can expect:
• Diversity no longer a challenge but a stepping stone towards greater potency
• A significant increase in leaders’ confidence, communication and relational skills rooted in Authentic Inner Authority – influential both up and down the company structure to inspire and guide
• A marked improvement in meetings’ and collaborative performance
• Decision-making processes freed from defensive habits and strategies and orientated towards win-win solutions
• A culture of creative exchange which transforms the working atmosphere
For further information please contact us.