Unleashing the Power of Inclusive Leadership in a ‘Mansplaining’ World

June 26, 2023
inclusive leadership

It is incredible how leadership has evolved over the years. Gone are the days when dominance and intelligence were the most commonly used words to describe leadership. In 2023, we are witnessing a shift towards qualities like empathy, collaboration, and adaptability, which are redefining successful leadership. As someone who has experienced the corporate world firsthand, I understand the importance of developing caring, effective leaders who can drive both personal growth and business results. Let's explore gender differences in leadership styles and how inclusive leadership is the key to creating a thriving workplace and a desired culture.

The Phenomenon of "Mansplaining":

One striking manifestation of gender differences in leadership communication is the phenomenon known as "mansplaining." Many men assert dominance and power through their speech, while women typically communicate to build connections. A study conducted at George Washington University found that men interrupted women a whopping 33% more often than they interrupted their fellow men. Additionally, 46 out of 48 interruptions came from the man in one-on-one conversations between a man and a woman. 

These aren't the only studies that shed light on how gender can influence leadership behavior in the workplace. Women have been found to downplay their abilities when their achievements are made public, while men seem to consistently rate their performance similarly in both public and private settings. Even more recent is the research done by Dave Dunning at Cornell University that found when experiencing failure, men have a tendency to respond using external attribution, while females use internal attribution, often blaming themselves.

In the book "STFU: The Power of Keeping Your Mouth Shut in an Endlessly Noisy World," author Dan Lyons examines the differences between men and women in communication styles and provides practical strategies for leaders to become better listeners. 

It is essential that we become more aware of these dynamics and foster a workplace where everyone's voice is respected and heard and inclusivity thrives.

Investing in Leadership Development for an Inclusive Workplace:

Here's the deal: if we want to foster inclusivity and create a thriving workplace, we must invest in leadership development. It's our responsibility to equip leaders with the skills and knowledge to navigate the complex workplaces of today. 

By understanding gender differences in leadership and implementing strategies to address them, leaders can create a more inclusive environment. Here are three key strategies:

  1. Promote Gender-Neutral Opportunities and Recognition: Ensure that opportunities for growth, promotions, and recognition are based solely on individual merit, irrespective of gender. By establishing transparent processes, leaders can create an environment where gender differences do not hinder progress and allow all employees to thrive based on their skills and contributions.
  2. Foster Effective Communication and Understanding: Developing strong communication skills and cultivating understanding across gender differences is crucial for effective leadership. Leaders can encourage open dialogue, active listening, and empathy-building activities to bridge the communication gap and foster a deeper understanding of diverse perspectives.
  3. Cultivate Mentorship and Development Programs: Establishing mentorship and development programs that focus on gender differences can contribute to leadership competency and understanding. Leaders can create opportunities for individuals to learn from experienced mentors who can provide guidance on navigating gender dynamics and fostering inclusivity.

By moving away from outdated male traits and behaviors, such as dominance and 'mansplaining,' and embracing care, empathy, and inclusivity, leaders can foster an environment where every voice is valued and heard. Leadership development plays a crucial role in cultivating inclusive leadership.

I invite you to reach out to me to learn more about custom leadership development workshops tailored to your organization's unique needs. Let's invest in our leaders today to create a brighter, more inclusive future.

Tricia Manning © 2024 All Rights Reserved.
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