EconomyIt is time to create a female-male balance in...

It is time to create a female-male balance in organizations

(Expansion) – The crises we are currently experiencing in the world (climate, food, war, health, social, etc.) seem more real and existential than ever. However, in the recent past we have shown that we can overcome challenges that seemed insurmountable.

As humanity, we have the potential to solve the problems around us, but the only way to do that is through leadership. Consider the example of great historical figures – such as Gandhi, Roosevelt or Lincoln – who promoted the changes necessary for humanity to recover from potentially destructive crises. They exercised a very particular type of leadership, in my opinion. I call it conscious leadership .

Just as good leaders contribute to a better world, bad leaders can destroy what has taken us decades, or even centuries, to create (we probably all have someone in mind). We urgently need conscious leadership , which means that power and virtue must go together, as Peter Senge said.

The people to whom we give power (or those who assume it) must be the most virtuous. In the way we have created our social systems, the most virtuous people do not seek power and those who are hungry for power are not the most virtuous, they are the most Machiavellian, the most corrupted by power.

When organizations search for the authentic meaning of leadership, they must understand that leadership is selfless. True leaders do not become leaders to serve their own agenda, but because they want to improve the world and lead people to a better place.

In this sense, the most critical thing a company can do is appoint the right leader, because good leaders can bring together the extraordinary energy that exists in any organization. As I always say, human beings are not a resource , we are the source .

Organizations need to find leaders who have certain kinds of values: who are kind, caring, strong, determined, and people-focused. In addition to strength, they must manifest love and care. That combination of strength and love is critical. Strength without love is tyranny, love without strength is often ineffective. We need strength and love together, and that’s where male-female integration comes in.

Generally speaking, capitalism, business and economics are very much rooted in masculine energy: self-interest, materialism, individualism. In fact, most organizations run internally like dictatorships, with a command-and-control approach to leadership. In a way, corporations are one of the last redoubts of the dictatorship.

Conscious leadership recognizes the importance of all human qualities. It is not just about strength, courage, focus, discipline, structure and resilience – traditionally associated with the masculine – but about recognizing that the socially repressed feminine nuances are the ones we need most in the world: empathy, compassion, inclusion, patience, forgiveness, vulnerability, care.

Most men do not understand the feminine. After thousands of years in patriarchal systems, men have repressed and are afraid of the feminine. Therefore, there are many cultures around the world where women are subjugated. Most men see the rise of women as the decline of men, but this stems from fear of losing their privileges. For real progress, women and men need to grow together, integrating the masculine and the feminine in themselves.

Conscious leaders recognize that change will come not only from having more women in leadership positions, but also from allowing men to cultivate and manifest traditionally feminine qualities. This is not a sign of weakness, but of humanity.

Shakti is a Sanskrit word that refers to the divine feminine energy that brings vitality and permeates all life and creation. The message of Shakti leadership is that while most people are born with one of two genders, when they get stuck in one gender identity they are operating with half the energy, half their potential. Our goal in this life is to become complete human beings.

How can we do it? Conscious leaders never stop learning, they are constantly evolving. Both masculine and feminine energy are tremendously powerful. We need to strive to be as loving and strong as possible and to do both simultaneously. This requires conscious evolution, becoming aware of our tendencies, and then consciously cultivating the other side. The more we work on ourselves, the greater the positive impact on others.

There is hope in the younger generations, where traditional notions of male and female, masculine and feminine, are not as strong, they are more fluid. Furthermore, younger generations are more aware of the environment, climate change and social inequality. In the same way, conscious leaders do not only focus on people, but include the planet and its other life forms: plants and animals. We must recognize that we are intimately connected with all of nature. This is part of the legacy that Latin America brings, which is also a responsibility to humanity.

Finally, conscientious leaders live by a phrase I like to use: “everyone matters and everyone needs to win.” As leaders, every life we touch – employees, customers, communities – matters. Let’s make this a daily practice and start changing our organizations (and our world) with conscious leadership and shakti before it’s too late.

Editor’s note: Raj Sisodia is professor of the Women Leading Organizations executive program at EGADE Business School and president of the Center for Conscious Companies at Tecnológico de Monterrey. Follow him on LinkedIn. The opinions published in this column belong exclusively to the author.

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