A woman should feel free to show she is a woman, not only in her appearance but also in her way of doing. She shouldn’t feel urged to take up a male way of doing things.
Why is it more difficult for a woman to get to the top?
In principle, this can have many causes. Do women want to get there as much as men do, on average? In case they don’t, this by itself can also have many causes. Maybe women (and men) rather like to see men at the top? Maybe this is because they know that men by nature like to be there so much more than women?
Maybe men just like to care for others more from top positions? Or maybe there is no good fit between women and being-at-the-top in present culture? If leaders have more influence on this part of a culture, and more men are leaders, then the culture is more bent to perpetuate it this way.
And so much more. Main point:
It’s difficult to have an objective view.
There is also a danger in objectivity, in precisely that it may diminish subjectivity, humaneness, and depth. It may diminish subtleness and, through this, even Openness.
I guess there is no final rule that may lead us out. Not surprisingly. Nature cares little for final rules. It rather cares for a set of conditions that are each good enough. In the interplay of these conditions, any new situation can be tackled optimally. This is much more robust than any final rule that is final until it is no longer final because the situation changes just a bit too much.
And it always changes.
More important is how to handle the change. No woman should feel coerced to take up a leadership role because of a male way of doing or relating. She may accord, but not feel coerced.
Whatever a male way may be
What shows itself as ‘male’ in a particular setting or culture may be very different in another one. The idea that testosterone leads to more aggressive leadership is less obvious than the idea that this idea itself does so. Otherwise, it can lead to very different things. What may always be the case: a male wants ‘female’ attention. Not the attention-from-a-female is sought, but a female-kind-of-attention.
Open Leadership is helped by being yourself, not someone from a different gender but precisely who you are. Open to yourself in the first place. Only this way can a leader also truly be Open to others, being Openly friendly to others, of any gender.
Is this manipulative?
Only if you act in disrespect, this is: with no intention to act for other people’s well-being. If ‘ego’ is the only goal, then, yes, manipulation is never far away. Contrary to this, transcending ‘ego’ readily inhibits manipulation.
This includes ‘flirting’ on the job, or what may look as such. In this, an important element is the audience. Appealing to ‘male ego’ is also ego-related. What touches one man in his ego may not do so in another. Of course, this may make things quite difficult for a female leader.
It’s like driving and suddenly, you are driving on ice. You cannot act all the time as if you are driving on ice and still be yourself. Still, you need to be careful, somewhat, always.
That counts for both sides.
It always does. This blog could have been written from any standpoint with equal relevance.