By Dr Pauline Crawford, International Speaker & Facilitator
Ask any audience the question “ARE MEN AND WOMEN THE SAME?” and you will always get the same answer. NO! In every biological kingdom across the world – be it human or animal – the male and female of each species are designed to be different genders and to come together to create new life. No argument there. We laugh at the obvious differences as in this picture. However, not all men behave the same, nor do all women behave the same, and the reasons for this are myriad.
I realized within a short period of time that I needed to take ‘what I knew’ back to the drawing board. I was learning that within each gender there was a range of physical body shapes that had a direct correlation to identifiable gender specific behavioral patterns that linked directly to left-brain, right-brain patterns and configurations. Beyond that, it was my belief that these patterns began to develop from birth. What I was witness to was the emergence of various types of women and men quite literally coming out of hiding, if you will, due to the necessity to survive in a world that struggled to make sense of the chaos of this gender evolution.
Society at large continues to try to squeeze everyone into neat little boxes that men of great power and stature created centuries ago, long before women even began daydreaming about the possibility of working alongside men in the business world. Now, however, women, technology and changing needs are forcing us to rethink the playground we all live and work in. Nowadays the differences within each gender, especially women, are out in the open. Women now clamber to hold their place without truly understanding the biases that exist between women and women, and men and men, let alone between men and women. Each, in their own way, struggle to make sense of the influence required by those in charge. New leaders are emerging; men and women alike who recognize that the players, as well as the ground rules need to change as the marketplace and life itself changes. The playground has both boy and girls in it. Why, then, do we choose to keep approximately half of our available human capital from participating in the growth and development process to become leaders. Why do we arbitrarily include and exclude at random?
Look in the playground, you see the girls play together, often in circles with their heads together. You see the girly girls sitting pretty and the tom-boy girls climb trees and playing football, ‘all girl’ and yet tough in their own way. You see the boys hustle and tussle, playing running games, football and the like. You see that the more reserved, quiet and perhaps gentle boy plays football, but does not easily take to the more physically challenging parts of sport such as risking bodily injury and hitting opponents harder. Yet both are ‘all boy’ as they deal with their individual DNA and spirit.
As the girls grow and mature, they may well have the opportunity to become leaders like Chancellor Angela Merkel or Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, very different types of women. Boys may well have the opportunity to become the next President Bill Clinton or world leader Nelson Mandela, again very different types of men. Imagine them each these different types of boys and girls in the playground, and let me know your views?
As I began to recognize these variations of leading men and women in the boardroom, as leaders in government, as entrepreneurs hiring the next generation and in society at large, I observed changes afoot that lead us to new ways of working, using mixed gender teams and feminine leadership styles, where maybe the focus becomes people rather than profit, customer rather than cost savings. The playing field starts to change to a more collaborative end game where men and women share the playground with a dynamic harmony and results that suit all. Such things are not out of reach.