Leading Like a Woman

Updated: Jul 23, 2019

Harvard’s Cornel West recently commented to Anderson Cooper, “The brothers are just out of control.” Aren’t they though?! Besides the endless incoherent tweets from the President of the United States, all one needs to do is make a quick sweep of the male leadership landscape and find that masculine mayhem is everywhere. From Brazil’s President Bolsonaro to Patriots' owner Robert Kraft to rapper R. Kelly to the formerly revered co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Morris Dees. Cornel West is a keen observer.

Can women save the world? Indeed a new paradigm of female leadership is emerging. Who remembers just about a year ago when New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was famous only for being a world leader who gave birth while in office? The slaughter in the Christchurch mosques and Ardern’s gesture of solidarity, donning a hijab, quickly propelled her gravitas as she became a new iconic image of global humanity, emulated by women across New Zealand in the wake of the tragedy.

We’re seeing several countries electing their first female president, women now leading in what were once male-dominated industries, and women taking the helm at the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq. It’s exciting that four of the five largest defense companies are run by women. Chicago just elected their first black, female, and gay mayor, and 42 new women were recently sworn into Congress. And Nancy Pelosi - mother of five, grandmother of nine - has been a joy to watch as she makes POTUS eat his peas while simultaneously corralling and passifying her rebellious and angry Democratic caucus to “Be calm. Take a deep breath. Don’t become them,” in a post-Mueller report strategy session. Leadership.

I’m not suggesting that women are universally and naturally better at running governments than men. Witness Great Britain’s Theresa May and her repeated stumblings to secure a Brexit deal. Nuff said. However, I do believe that we women are afflicted by what Hillary Clinton once called “the responsibility gene.” Her husband ‘s lack of it likely informed that moniker. To that point, I’m gonna wager a bucket of Bitcoins that none of the women currently seeking the Democratic presidential nomination are secretly sexting pictures of parts of their anatomy to anyone.

I do believe that as women step into new roles, once only occupied by men, that the value of their wisdom is beginning to emerge in unexpected ways. Over thousands of years of civilization, women have evolved to navigate and manage the many complexities of life while finding a way to peacefully coexist where men have traditionally paved roads to conflict. I believe a woman’s wisdom is derived, in part, from the great juggling of her life. Coaching a learning disabled child on homework after a day of hassles at the office provides a deep experience of delayed gratification. Who can forget the image of CBS anchor Gayle King stoically offering a soothing tone “Robert, Robert” to a thrashing, weeping, lying R. Kelly?

We are long overdue to draw on women’s wisdom without apology. Women are in a prime position to push forward with their wisdom into positions of power. Yes, we can soothe our world and, maybe even save it.


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