Nature’s instruction on leadership

The most revolutionary developments in civilization have all been deliberate or unwitting imitations of what already exists in nature. Flight, for example, was made possible by modeling gliding birds, and satellites were made possible by modeling planets in orbit. Leadership styles are no different: the most successful of them turn out to be styles modeled on leadership in natural settings, which in the case of animals would be leadership of the herd but in the case of humans is leadership of the family.

So what offerings of quality leadership insights can we extract from observations of the human male-female pair when acting in their role as parents, which nature meant to be the office for family leadership? Naturally, where questions of quality arise in leadership our attention must first be drawn to the selection process through which the leaders under scrutiny emerge, because it is at this stage that focus on qualities is most intense and so distinguishing qualities are most evident. In the case of the family, this selection process occurs at courtship when the male and female scour each other in search of certain qualities that instinct tells them are desirable in a mate. Considering that nature intends them to be leaders of the social unit that will result from their mating, we can only conclude that the golden qualities that it directs them through the force of instinct to seek in each other at courtship must be qualities that would render them eminently suited to their contemplated leadership roles in a future family. Among those qualities are those that are desirable in both male and female, those that are desirable specifically in the male, and those that are desirable only in the female. Given that in the traditional family setting the husband is the leader and the wife the subordinate, these three categories of sexually attractive qualities have important implications for those who occupy the echelons of leadership in an organization whether as leaders or as subordinates. For the leader must know that which it takes to exercise leadership effectively, and the subordinate must know that which it takes to respond to leadership constructively, and only by studying nature’s models of leader and subordinate can they acquire this knowledge in forms applicable to the human situation. So the leader, whether male or female, must study the capabilities and personality that wives value in their husbands and adapt the lessons gained to their particular situation. Likewise, the subordinate, whether male or female, must study the capabilities and personality that husbands value in their wives and adapt the lessons gained to their circumstances.

It is in failing to do this that women managers worldwide are generally rated in employee surveys as less amiable than their male colleagues. For while they are generally just as competent as the men, they often fail the personality test since the personality that wives desire in their husbands—and therefore subordinates desire in their leaders—does not come naturally to women, and so must be learned. Unfortunately, few make the attempt mostly due to erroneous teachings which urge them to behave like men instead of urging them to behave like husbands. There is a big difference between the two positions: a woman who attempts to behave like a man will only think of being aggressive and will come across as being overly so; one who attempts to behave like a husband, on the other hand, will be mindful of balancing her aggressive manner with a courtly manner—which is just the mix that subordinates find positively intoxicating in a leader.

The mastery of leadership and of subordinacy requires no more than full comprehension of this basic insight and the arts of its adaptation to matters of organizational leadership. (For further development of this subject, see The Success Genome Unravelled


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