Josef Klus shared this on LinkedIn. I commented on the post and would like to share a little more here, as I think it is important.
With all the proposed moves to legislate the presence of women on boards to forty percent, and similar initiatives, I would like to state here again clearly that I am NOT in favour of such legislation. We need the best people to be on the job, and if the best person for the job is a woman, give it to her! That does NOT mean that we should dictate what percentage of a Board should be women.
Are there differences between men and women? No, of course not! That is, besides the few obvious anatomical ones and the natural predispositions each gender has. We need to stop emphasizing the differences and stop this nonsense about which is superior and which is inferior. Yes, admit it, you still have that attitude inside, it’s just not politically correct to make that attitude known! Men and women are designed to complement each other, not compete for a seat on the Board. Here are a few leadership lessons that Men could learn form Women, in my book.
1. Get to know what Women like.
According to Dr Ivan Misner of BNI, one of the reasons why women are much better at developing relationships is they take the time to become acquainted with what men like. Some women even read the sports news just so that they would be able to have conversations with their male counterparts. Men would be well advised to do something similar.
2. Of course you know everything. Just ask!
Men have a tendency not to ask because we think we need to know everything. That’s impossible, of course, no one knows everything. However, we do need to know enough to be able to make wise decisions. If we don’t know enough, start finding out. One of the best ways of finding out is to ask those who could reasonably be expected to know. Don’t just ask one source, ask a few sources and make sure that the information makes sense to you! If you don’t want to look stupid in front of everyone, and still don’t want to ask when you do need to ask, then just make sure that you do plenty of homework beforehand. Meaning all the time.
3. Treat your people like your children.
Women, being the primary caregivers, are much better at developing relationships with those they have responsibility for. For many years, children, especially sons, being apprentices to their fathers has not been commonplace. This has caused men to subconsciously “outsource” the continued development and mentoring of their children to others. Such a mentality extends into how men tend to treat their staff. If we truly treat our staff as our children ought to be treated, we would spend much time and resources in developing them to their fullest potential. without the fear of their taking our jobs away from us. In fat, if we do have this fear, it means that it’s time to put ourselves out to pasture, because we would have become dead wood in the company – we’re not growing anymore. If we grow continuously, we would have no fear of investing in the development of others.
Finally, since men tend to like stuff like tanks and aircraft, may I suggest that men read the classic Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” with their eyes and mind open? A classic is defined as a work that everybody knows about but which no one has read. Not true in all cases, of course, but you get my point. Read Sun Tzu again, don’t assume you know everything said in there. You’ll find a nugget or two there that a lot of women already have.