Women, Work and the Arc of Democratization

Often we live in the middle of slow-moving change, which only appears dramatic when we step way back.  It makes you wonder what possibilities go unnoticed, and who seizes on the opportunities buried in those slow changes.  For instance, I have long thought that the entrance of women into the workplace in large numbers – and increasingly into leadership positions – is an example of such long-slow change.  Over time, women (and progressive men who have welcomed their arrival) have humanized and democratized workplace culture.  Autocratic, topdown, paternalistic leadership – which almost never made much sense – was long tolerated as part of business culture.  Now, with a more traditionally feminine emphasis on relationships at work – collaboration, encouragement, diversity, etc. – that has changed.  It’s the humanization and democratization of work that has resulted, for example, in Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For,” quadrupling their rates of telecommuting in just one short decade.  It’s good for the workers, and what’s good for the workers often times…well, you know.


In the long arc of workplace change, I wonder if we are still slow catching on – catching on to the shortcomings of some old models of leadership.  We still seem rapt by the Alpha Males, for whom drives for sex and power irrationally take precedence over the long term welfare of the people they have campaigned to lead.  I wonder will males adapt?  Can we intentionally evolve?  Or will the culture (led by the strong demands of women) simply realize that women are just more reliable – less distracted, contentious, egoistic, and (one of our dirty male secrets) less vindictive?  


I’d love your feedback in any of three ways:   1.  Answer a one-minute survey about women’s capability and advancement;  2. Hit the comments key below and weigh in.  3. Listen and call in this Saturday when we discuss the evolving roles of women at work on the Everyday Leadership show.


Say no to the dictator – whether within or without – and push for the humanization and democratization of work, as you


Lead with your best self,