Head to head at the board table

Today we find one of the most important economies of the world in crisis due to its leaders playing ‘dare’. As one of the papers put it ‘we’re waiting to see who blinks first’.

It’s irrelevant to me whether the Democrats or Republicans are at fault. What I dislike is the sense that egos and personal agendas in the leadership team are more important than the people they lead. As well as tumbling shares the US government is the US’s largest employer and today many of its employees have been put on unpaid leave. This will immediately mess up carefully balanced domestic budgeting, result in mortgage and other payment defaults and cause simply the most enormous stress to millions.

To me, this is the leadership style the world has grown weary of. Conflict and confrontation instead of debate and discussion. I have read report after report in the past few years about the positive impact that more female leaders can have in leadership teams. The reason is, women tend to encourage consideration of the wider issues, they dilute the ‘group think’ approach that is inevitable in teams that are not diverse, they encourage compromise and discourage posturing and conflict.

Many men might take the view that women sometimes lack competitiveness, drive and financial acumen. Whether that is right or wrong is irrelevant as it has been demonstrated over decades that strength in a team at any level of the organisation tends to come from the combining and valuing of different skill sets and styles.

With so many billions spent on leadership and team development programmes around the world there is no excuse for any of our current world and business leaders to not know how to create strong diverse teams.

It’s not easy to change but the time for thumping the board table and playing dare is long passed. Just a shame so many leaders haven’t worked that out yet.

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