Can I Lead as A Woman?
Can I Be a Woman and a Leader?
Saturday 1/21/17- (2:00)
Is there bias that lies within being a leader in regards to someone’s gender? Can a woman be just as great as a leader than a man? This is a pressing question that is still till this day debated heavily. The essence of being a human lies in that person’s ability to plan, think deeply, and make decisions. Planning, deep though and rationale decision making are all important aspects of being a great leader. Let’s add a few more traits to this already existing list like courage, intelligence, self-restraint and good judgement. Take a moment to thinking about the person who you envision to possess all of these traits. What is the gender of the individual you had in mind? Should gender even be applied to these traits, is it necessary? Generally, when I think about the traits listed above I do not initially think of gender but when asked to apply a gender to them I do tend to lean towards female. This could have a lot to do with the way I was raised up. Growing up my mother and father always taught my siblings and to have a high self-concept. So because of my high self-concept I am able to relate those traits of leadership to myself and all women in general. Another reason why I may have this bias is that my mother is the primary “bread winner” in the household. As I grew I may have not been aware of the association I was making between woman and leadership. Although, I had this bias I would go to my father to my issues as a young adult. So even though I associated my mother to have more power and leadership because of her income, I still looked at my father to solve my problems and lead me when I needed a rationale and level headed response and solution. Maybe women lack leadership ability in areas that men don’t and vice versa.
I wasn’t aware of my bias until I took the implicit- association test (IAT). My results showed that I had a moderate bias where I associated Men with Followers and Woman with Leaders. The results of this test weren’t particularly surprising to me. Before I took the test I took a moment to identify how I associated the women in my life. Many women in and outside of my family hold roles in leadership positions. Then I took a minute to also think about the men in and outside of my life and the positions they hold in relation to their wives or female counterparts. I had already began to see a pattern in the relationships between many women and men in my life. Most of the women who were in relationships with men held higher paying positions and asserted more dominance in their relationship, that wasn’t necessarily due to the difference in income. You can already see why the results turned out the way that they did. One of the downfalls of this test was that by the third second of the assessment I had already began to memorize which words/terms I associated with what gender. So after the third section it was more of a memory game for me rather than a test that could accurately prove any bias that I may or may not have. I still believe the test was accurate in identifying my bias. As I said before I took the assessment I had reflected on my life, the men and women around me and how they interact with one another. Anyone who would hear my stories and take on the relationships in my family would quickly pick up on the pattern that as well. Also, I had an idea of which direction I wanted my bias to lie so I took the test with that in mind and altered my answers as such.
Sunday 1/22/17- (2:30)
While reading the biography entitled Plutarch’s Life of Antony, the readers were first introduced Antony’s grandfather. In the short story about Antony’s grandfather Plutarch writes that he is not a man of great wealth. And because he is not a man of great wealth when someone close to him asks for monetary support he asks one of his slaves for a silver bowl. A silver bowl that he fills with water as if to shave and when the slave is sent away he hands over the bowl to his family member. When I read this short story I wondered if Plutarch did this purposefully to shed light on the mannerisms of Antony before he began to tell his story. In the relationship between Antony’s grandfather and wife it seems as if the wife has majority of the power. The relationship between the two reminded me of the relationship between my own parents. My father is very liberal in trying to make sure everyone around him has. Making sure your family outside of your home has is not necessarily a bad thing when your own resources are unlimited. When resources are limited and you still feel the need to continue to give and end up having to dip into the resources that are meant for your immediate household and pose an issue. My mother on the other hand makes sure to step in and remind my father that giving so much to too many people isn’t always the best way to help. Being able to help your followers is contingent on whether you can provide the help without taking from others. I saw his wife as having the power because she had enough sense to step in and question why her possessions were gone. Her husband may have had good intention but taking away from yourself and the people around you in order to give to the people asking for your help isn’t really helping at all.
In Part one of Plutarch’s Life of Antony, Antony is actually described as being a liberal leader. Antony comes across as the type of leader who would “give his late” to his followers. In some cases, “giving your last” is admirable but in reality can be detrimental to the leader. Is it smart for a leader to give so much? Is there such thing as giving too much or too little? How can a leader find a balance between the two? Lastly, are men more susceptible to giving too much or do women fall victim to giving too much? Both men and women could fall victim to being too liberal in my opinion. I don’t think liberality can or should be specified to gender but analyzing the followers could help us understand why some leaders may be more inclined to give or not. Also, being too liberal can cause a sense of guilt in followers and the guilt that they feel may manifest itself in the form of hatred for that leader. Followers may begin to hate or dislike their leader because they may begin to realize they have no way to repay their leader. On some circumstances women may feel more inclined to give too much to followers if they were in great need. Followers who were women, or children or men who needed thing to support a family may speak to a woman who is a leader more than it would to a man. Men may be more enticed to give because keeping up the image that they have excess to give and support may make them feel more powerful. There is a lot of power in being able to support those who follower a leader and maybe a man can be more susceptible to falling victim to the being too greedy in regards to power.
Monday 1/23/17- (1:00)
Antony has displayed a lot of carelessness in his fight to be a leader for his followers. So is this problem that all men face? Many people may think that men are level headed and are great at making rationale decisions when it is needed. But I think women possess something that most men lack. Women have to work twice as hard to be in the position of power or leadership then men do so they have a certain focus that most men do not. They have to work twice as hard to be half as good. When men are in positions of leadership they are given more room to be careless with the decisions they make and aren’t penalized as much as women. So when women are in positions of leadership they have to pay closer attention to decisions they make on behalf of their followers. Also, women are more likely to excel at nurturing competency. Great leaders should have empathy so they won’t run the risk of dehumanizing their followers. I think men on the other hand may have difficult with being nurturing and empathy. From birth men are told to be tough and this conditioning could harden them too much to the point they lack key emotional traits to lead.
Tuesday 1/24/17- (30:00)
In light of all of the arguments I have for and against men and women in positions of leadership, I think it’s unfair to do so. Leadership capability should not be an issue of gender at all. Whether someone is a man or woman should be irrelevant in the discussion of leadership. Sadly, people of today still continue to assume gender is one of the most important factors in leadership. Some people regardless of gender may lack the skills to lead. Many factors like the way someone was raised, or how that person saw their role models act could influence their capability to lead others. Maybe that person could just be unaware of how to properly help others. That could possibility be a disconnect between what they think it means to be a leader and what a leader truly is. There are so many factors that could possibly take way from someone’s capacity to lead and gender shouldn’t fall anywhere on that list.