Not long ago I shared insight about the value of creating a gender neutral organization, and how to do so in your business. As part, I referenced that a large part of this relies at the top-level, led first by example but also through effort and tactics. It beings with the leader, and means adopting a leadership style that does not view staff by gender, but by talent, experience and value. In a business world where ‘male’ and ‘female’ have had clear, defined lines — and the fact that there are can be differences in how men and women do business — it may not feel natural or instinctive to remove gender from the picture. But in doing so, leaders hold not just a great potential to better manage and drive companies overall, but unlock a great benefit to the business that both men and women bring to the job.
Here’s how to adopt a more gender neutral leadership style in your organization:
- Recognize talent first — Talent and skills are something that everyone regardless of gender possess. View your entire organization and everyone from this vantage point first. It might take extra or careful thought, but the value in doing so is more than worth it. Watch and evaluate how every person operates in your business and get to know each at this level first.
- Ignore your own gender — Gender neutral doesn’t just mean how you see and treat others. It’s also in how you see yourself and interact. It doesn’t mean you’ve got to start adopting the ways or activities of the opposite sex. Rather, operate and lead with your own talent first. By making your own gender second, you’ll increase your chances of acting and reacting gender neutral among your teams and staff — and show them how to do so as well.
- Be prepared — Gender neutral leadership doesn’t mean you won’t have instances where gender is a factor. Men and women by design have different ways of handling things, communicating or expressing emotion, etc. — and that goes for leaders as well. Get clear on how you want to handle any issues that arise, including giving yourself time to determine course of action if needed should any situations with teams and staff happen.