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Calling all men, who have the responsibility of leading others. Whether you’re in your own business or whether you work in a corporation, you are called upon to “lead.” Do you, like me, sometimes struggle with new directions, expansion of your work, developing or growing your skills? What about narrowing down your scope? Being more niched? Have you been doing things the same-old, same-old way for years? Is it time for change?
I believe that if you’re going to make a professional change or go in a new direction of work, it’s important to do the research. I’ve had many iterations of my career. Generally, when I am interested in pursuing a new direction, I gather people together for a focus group and get some outside opinions. I work alone, so having people I can trust give me feedback (aka research to use), helps me move forward more effectively.
I recently took that on.
I hired a branding (or in my case, a “re-branding”) expert. He asked me numerous questions to see the confluence of my talents and my desires. For example, one question was sort of like this: “How do I bring my gifts (talents) to the greatest value for others?”
After mumbling around for a bit, the following statement just came out of my mouth: “I connect with men without them losing their masculinity. I’m great with coaching ‘alpha’ men.
It just fit for me. So, then I started doing more research … with men. I sent out a request for feedback from men I’ve coached, or that truly know my executive coaching stills. I asked other professional men I know.
I asked them to answer one research question and to hit reply with their response.
Here’s the question:
As a male leader, has modern leadership and business conditions required you to adjust your leadership style from earlier in your career? Think in both positive and burdensome ways.
Although the there are still many to hear from, the responses I’ve gotten already are amazing. I thought I would share a few of them with you.
So, again, the premise is:
a) You are a male leader (either of your own business or in an organization)
b) You’ve noticed over the years that you’ve had to adjust your leadership style from earlier times into a more contemporary leadership style now. Different times, different expectations.
Here are a few examples of responses (paraphrased) I received:
• Good leaders get everyone pulling in the right directions, in a non-competitive way.
• Male leaders are moving towards being more aware of work/life balance issues.
• It’s much more acceptable, and even expected to bring my personal life into business — and to invite conversations about subordinates’ personal lives.
• I think the biggest change that has occurred in my lifetime is that it is no longer acceptable for a leader to be prescriptive. The ability to listen the ability to balance expectations with people’s real lives is key.
• Workplaces are catering to employees more than ever. Leadership spends much more time with employees than ever before.
In response to these initial opinions, my comment is: men are seeing that there is more to just going to work to work; rather, there is having a life and work is just one part of it. There is the entire area of humanity … being a human being, who just happens to work as well. These statements apply to us all.
There are numerous leadership gurus, thousands of books on the topic, courses and majors on the topic. I’ve taken courses, read many books.
My small contribution at this moment is to assist/ coach men to be more effective leaders. Believe me, there are ineffective leaders. I’ve worked with a few. Rarely, however, do I see one who is unwilling to change, unwilling to move forward and be the best he can be. Perhaps he just needs to see the path and learn the ways to BE.
Work is fulfillment for most of us. But, as I coach them, it is only ONE part of our life. And, leadership at work is only one part of leadership. We are ALL leaders of our lives.
So, as I continue to research this topic, I do have a couple of tips of what makes a great MALE leader. I’ll share them here with you briefly.
About the Contemporary Male Leader: He is Courageous, has a sense of Whimsy and delight. He will do the dishes, shop for coffee, roll up his sleeves, bring his kids to work. He is who others strive to be, without the others knowing that they CAN become him.
He has the following competences:
• Authenticity: The ability to be genuine, as in “real.” He is trustworthy; he is who he says he is. He’s the “real” deal.
• Compassion: The ability to feel for the hardship or difficulties of another person, and beyond that, a desire to see how he might be of help.
• Tenacity: He is comfortable with adversity, doesn’t allow it to stop him. He is persistent, whether on his own behalf or in the advocacy of another. He perseveres.
As we learn more about the needs of the people we lead, we can continue to grow as leaders.