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Integrated Leadership: Building on the Benefits

There are many reasons to foster an Integrated Leadership culture—one that values, leverages, and blends the strengths of both women and men—in your organization. Gender-balanced leadership perspectives can lead to a wide range of benefits at the organizational, team, and individual levels.

The latest research published at the end of 2015 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences tells us that men and women are not always different when it comes to thinking, communications, and problem-solving. However, studies have found that the diversity of strategies and approaches often seen between men and women go beyond gender and genetics.

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Want Something? Just Ask

In honor of Equal Pay Day this month, I had the opportunity to facilitate a Lean In Facebook Q&A that reached 139,900 people on one of the more challenging sticky floors for women (and men in some cases). That sticky floor is called Asking For What You Want.

While “making the ask” may seem simple on the surface, I was amazed at the number of questions that arose on this issue. Concerns ranged from figuring out the key steps you need to know about asking in relation to your career, strategy for effective negotiations, and how to address the internal voice in your head that may tell you to retreat from asking. Yet despite the reservations that some may feel toward asking, we are routinely faced with the need to ask for what we want in job interviews or when seeking a raise, promotion, bonus, vacation, flextime, and other benefits or opportunities.

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What’s The Brain Got To Do With Leadership

Recently I met with an executive from one of our client organizations who heads up Global Talent Management and we spoke about the topic of whole-brain thinking and balanced leadership. As you may recall, in December’s blog, "The Brain Science Behind The Integrated Leadership Model," I shared the concept of whole-brain thinking and how the physiological differences between men and women’s brains explain the considerable differences in how they operate in the workplace.

In my conversation the executive shared with me that she understands what other highly successful senior executives know – differences are at the heart of a balanced leadership approach: “Our customers are diverse, with different likes and needs. If we only had one type of executive – whether that was all men, all women or all one personality type – we would be limited, only recognizing that narrow slice of the world. We would miss all kinds of opportunities and conversations that are crucial to our success. And as a result, we would miss a critical chance for the continuous learning that will keep us at the top of our industry today and give us the competitive advantage we need to stay there in the future.”

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