By Rebecca Shambaugh, President and CEO, Shambaugh Leadership
Introducing Integrated Leadership and Gender Intelligence
Having both served as an executive for three Fortune 500 companies and running my own leadership development company for the past 20 years, I’ve worked with many talented executives and profitable organizations that have achieved tremendous success. Unfortunately, these same clients are dealing with new and complex issues, problems, and opportunities that if not dealt with correctly will have a direct impact on their overall growth, market share, and competitive advantage. While many variables are at play, the primary cause for this shift is that these leaders and organizations continue to rely on the same leadership approach that garnered them success in the past. And why shouldn’t they? If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, right?
While current leadership models aren’t necessarily “broken,” the reality is that they won’t drive success in today’s ever changing and always challenging global business environment. Shifting market conditions, higher customer expectations, evolving workforce demographics, constant advances in technology and rapid social changes require us to rethink the kind of leadership that is needed to be successful now and in the future. Over the past year, I’ve interviewed more than 60 successful senior executives for my new book, Make Room For Her-Why Companies Need An Integrated Leadership Model To Achieve Extraordinary Results on this topic and discovered I’m not the only one who recognizes the urgency for a new approach to leadership. The truth is that 20th century leadership models won’t work for 21st century organizations and 21st century problems.
I firmly believe that successful organizations, now and in the future, will be led by fully engaged, balanced teams of men and women working together synergistically to produce extraordinary results. I call this Integrated Leadership and it is based on the concept of gender intelligence. As the 113th Congress begins, it includes a record number of women, proving that the “old boys’ network” of the 20th century is giving way to a gender-balanced leadership model. Politicians and executives who fail to tap into gender intelligence will get left behind. Consider these statistics:
- Gender-diverse companies are 69% more profitable. (Source: Harvard Business Review)
- Companies with the most gender-diverse management had 48% higher earnings. (Source: McKinsey)
- Companies with significantly more women in the senior ranks had 1.7 times greater stock growth. (Source: McKinsey)
How can gender diversity make such a distinct difference? When men and women work together as equals, they tap into broader perspectives, access a wider range of skills and think more innovatively. Ironically, the very qualities that have historically kept women out of top leadership roles – emotional and social intelligence, collaboration and inclusiveness – are the very qualities organizations and their leadership teams must have to succeed in today’s challenging and complex global marketplace.
Yet women still aren’t equally represented in leadership. They comprise 51% of the American workforce but as little as 15% of the executive suite and corporate boards. That’s why I contend that organizations are using only half of their leadership intelligence. Integrated Leadership offers organizations a way to leverage gender intelligence and create a balanced leadership perspective that yields better business results.
Those who value and leverage gender intelligence, realize that there are unique strengths in each gender, just as there are strengths in a diversity of life experiences, age experiences, racial experiences and cultural experiences. Integrated Leadership harnesses this collective human intelligence on gender-balanced leadership teams and it’s actually backed by science!
The shift to Integrated Leadership will require the efforts of men and women, as well as their organizations. Over the next several months I will provide the “how to’s” and real examples for men, women, and organizations on how they can not only cultivate a culture that embraces Integrated Leadership but also harnesses the broader spectrum of gender intelligence that fosters a balanced leadership perspective and yields better business results.
Here are just a few recommendations for women, men, and organizations to consider for being a solution in creating and sustaining Integrated Leadership:
- Women must assume responsibility for their own career advancement. Many women are stuck on a “sticky floor” of self-limiting assumptions, beliefs, and behaviors that prevent them from realizing their potential and moving to the next level of leadership. They must look within, acknowledge their leadership attributes, and then confidently take a seat at the table. My new book, Make Room for Her, provides women with gender-specific strategies, tools, and techniques for raising their personal leadership quotient so they can rise to higher positions.
- Men, who represent over 80 percent of senior and executive leadership, play a crucial role in helping women advance to higher-level leadership positions. These men are in the best position to advocate for women, and we need to tap into their insights, coaching and mentoring, as well as their goodwill.
Organizations must address the number of women who are dropping out of, or not signing up for, the senior leadership ranks. Many organizations have invested in and developed a robust leadership pipeline of competent women. Now they must take the next step and proactively seek ways to advance more women.
I look forward to our next article that will focus on Integrated Leadership and its connection to brain science and gender intelligence.
For more information link to SHAMBAUGH’s Integrated Leadership Program, their Core Services for Leadership Development and their Women In Leadership and Learning (WILL) Program, which is a nationally recognized leadership program that is known for its results in the development, advancement, and retention of organizations top talented women leaders. To learn more about the Sticky Floors check out Rebecca’s bestselling book, It’s Not a Glass Ceiling, It’s a Sticky Floor, and don’t miss her latest book, Make Room for Her: Why Companies Need an Integrated Leadership Model to Achieve Extraordinary Results. For more information about SHAMBAUGH’s Executive Coaching and other Leadership Development Programs visit www.shambaughleadership.com.