Masculine values - are they killing our businesses (and ruining HR)?
Is it cultural, shareholder value strategies or just a lot of testosterone filled leaders and managers without a sense of proper accountability that is killing our businesses?
Do masculine values such as competitiveness, drive and ambition (speed without caution) and acting 'tough as old boots' still have a place in modern organisations? Ken Blanchard lists specific masculine and feminine values in his leadership traits and I wonder whether a cultural push towards 'harder' HR and tougher business environments is pushing us towards a set of values that we know have risks attached to them.
Those risks include alienating anyone who doesn't fit in with the value sets, male or female. It kills openness and squashes innovation. It can also lead to taking unnecessary risks and corporate greed (The Volkswagen scandal on emissions is a good example).
So whilst more and more data is popping up showing we have a long journey ahead of us in terms of diversity management (see this article on middle managers) and equality balance, times are changing but are our values?
Is it time we re-visited our behaviours and thinking for our managers and leaders in the workplace, so that we reward different actions and therefore focus on different outcomes?
Learning offerings has followed suit and helped boost the ideals of MENTAL TOUGHNESS and TIME AND PRIORITY MANAGEMENT, HANDLING DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS, to help re-enforce the masculinity required of leaders/managers.
Then offer the support for the consequences of these behaviours in diversity, conflict management and general leadership development that says people are important, but these seem like CONTRADICTORY MESSAGES.
So does a balance make sense from all perspectives?
A balanced set of values is most effective, a ying and yang of supportive behavioural values in action.
How to create a balance between the masculine and feminine values
- In ambitious vision, goal and target setting is good for business providing the capability is there in people and they are engaged in the process.
- Using planning and data analysis to combat the rush to action that plagues so many organisations.
- An inclusive approach to people management that listens, supports and encourages the unlocking of potential and development of capability that is also tough on standards of performance, with support mechanisms that focus on positives and strengths.
- A change management process that is engaging and shaped from the bottom up and is built into culture rather than a knee jerk reaction to shifting market conditions or financial difficulties.
- Innovation that engages different personalities and spectrums of experience and broadens the look to more than 'just right now' and looks back at historical patterns because of the rush to action and being accepting of different perspectives.
There is certainly room for both, however it takes smart judgement to be able to differentiate between the 2 and know when to use them appropriately, when not, they can be a destructive force we often miss and are too afraid to speak up about (and result in bullying and intimidation and high attrition rates).
JOHN | THINKING HR