Women and Leadership | 10 Steps Forward for Women and Men (Part 1)

10 Steps Text

When we embrace our true potential, and do so with humanity, humility and the desire to serve the greatest good,  we rekindle the most important fire of all;the fire of human potential – the fire of leading forward together!

Leadership is a 3Q Equation: (IQ) Intellect-Strategic Thought EQ (emotions-empathy-self & social mgmt) SQ (values-integrity-humanity). It is a gender-less equation that must be enfranchised by those who have typically been disenfranchised.

The writing is on the walls of our lives, our communities, our organizations and our world; it is time for women to lead forward. 
And it is time for men to champion their sisters, because our individual and collective hope for a better future lies in men and women collaborating and leading forward together. 

You cannot light a fire with wet wood. The future lies in the hands of those who can empower and enable the best in others. I am grateful to the sisters, the women before me who suffered for my human rights, and to those men who had the courage to stand alongside them. As a woman, as a part of an ethnic minority, as a member of the human race I am grateful to those who suffered before me for the rights and freedoms I have now.

The most important fire we can light is the fire of human potential, and I believe that women have a critical role to play. It is a role that takes courage, resiliency and the ability to stand tall. It is the most important role we can play.

Much of the world, and much of womankind goes to bed hungry, disadvantaged and beaten in one way or the other. The strength of those who have a voice and their ability to use their voices to lead forward is critical. The strength of those who have been enabled with learning to use their knowledge to help others is imperative. The strength of those who refuse to let go of their faith, hope, humanity, integrity and courage is our hope for a better future.

1. Empowerment Is Both an Internal and External Journey That Takes Time

It is important to stand up, not down; it is important to R-E-A-C-H forward  When the external conditions enfranchise human rights and voice, those who have been disenfranchised must then reset their own internal GPS. We will not go from a mindset of being dominated, to finding freedom and empowerment without resetting our own internal GPS by celebrating the power, the positive contribution we can and will make.

What became clear to me, as I grew, learned and evolved was that it takes time for those who have been disenfranchised to step up to the plate. Laws and society must first welcome them, and then those who have been underdogs need to go through their own metamorphosis where the chains of disenfranchisement and victimhood no longer impeded their own sense of self esteem or abilities.

2. Stereotypes Must Be Challenged, Because the Pull of the Past Is Strong and the Past Will Not Take Us Forward

Strong women scare weak men. This does not mean that we must undervalue our strengths. It means we must stand up and stand tall. Typically men are taught to overvalue their strengths, and women to undervalue theirs. Stop stereotyping yourself. See your strengths for what they are, and use your challenges to enable your potential.

I believe with all my head and heart that women are in the midst of an important reset, as are other groups who have suffered. And, it is those who can rise above what was, and see their ability to build a bridge between sisters, brothers, diversity, constituencies…between the human divide before us that will be able to lead forward.

3. Don’t Become a Victim of Your Biology, Rather Women’s Biological Imperative to Help the World Lead Forward. Men are Typically Wired to Control and Women to Connect 

Don’t hide your desire to build a better world under a bushel, celebrate it, ignite it and pass the torch forward. The same inherent strengths that make most of us great nurturers are what the world needs now more than ever before.

Will we survive and thrive with a winner-takes-all model of leadership? Will we develop learning organizations, better societies, improved lives for all constituents by continuing models of leadership, governance that no longer work? Is it not time to celebrate our difference as women, our ability to really champion building organizations that strive and drive collaboration, communication and results for all constituents according to their respective abilities and potential?

4. Purpose = Profit. A New World, Workplace and Marketplace Will Continue to Show Leading Forward Means Harnessing Human Beings Potential Better, Not Simply Doing Faster, Than Ever Before 

The inequities before us are incredible, but so is our power to lead forward. If we are daunted by what is, we cannot begin to use the very challenges we face to create what can be. We must stand up, and standing up means rally the full force of our courage and commitment to doing what is in alignment with the integrity, humanity and values that will sustain our world.

5. Stop Competing, Start Collaborating. Celebrate Biological Differences That Make Us Stronger TOGETHER

The corpus callosum that separates left and right hemispheres in women is thicker than in men. Yes, the biological imperative that helps most women be mothers, tend to multiple responsibilities also gives us an ability that is now critical to our individual and collective survival and prosperity. While we know now that we can all build new neural connections, and that men can learn to be more whole brained; women are hardwired to do so.

Women need to take the lead in modeling new and better ways of communicating, collaborating and building relationships and in helping our brothers develop these critical skills. There are many men who are great communicators, collaborators and relationship builders. And many of them can benefit from growth in these areas just as women can benefit from learning more from men about positioning themselves to lead forward in a still male dominated world and mindset.

(We hope you enjoyed Part 1 of this post. Please check back in with us tomorrow for Part 2 of “Women and Leadership | 10 Steps Forward for Women and Men”).

Executive Coach, Consultant, Trainer, Speaker and Writer, Irene is a trailblazer whose R-E-A-C-H™ methodology and 3Q Edge™ focus have helped forward-thinking people and organizations in Canada, USA and Europe USE strengths, changes, challenges and failures to achieve breakthrough results in their careers, communication, leadership and lives; exceptional results that stick and grow at the speed of change. Yes, 3Q is unique in that it helps people build the mindset and skill-set that enables and optimizes potential in the face of change and challenges. First female CEO of a steel company in Canada, Irene Becker has a track record of accomplishments in business and in the community at large. Passionate about the integrity of her work, Irene just returned from her first keynote in the UK and works with clients face to face, by telephone, Skype or video conferencing.

  • shawmu

    Irene, thank you for sharing this message with our readers. It’s nice to have your voice here.

  • David Physick

    Celebrate biological differences… these are physical as well as psychological. The link takes you to a report I helped produce a few years ago. The production of this report was prompted by the contemporaneous asking of the same question by two senior British business leaders, one a woman, one a man. The question was “Do men and women bring different personality characteristics to the role of leadership and, if they do, what are the consequences of this?”


    At a meeting last year of the Women in Banking and Finance Group (led by the wonderful Sylvana Caloni), a discussion about the imposition of quotas to help increase the number of women in senior roles was getting bogged down. To give things a jolt, I remarked that, perhaps, quotas should be seen from the other perspective, namely given that the current problems have been caused under the corporate stewardship of people like me, 50-something men, should we target removing those culpable from roles to create gaps into which better able people can be appointed. That got the discussion going! This issue is, as you remark, Irene, crucial to our future well-being, economically, socially and environmentally.

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