This paper uses two theories of adult development to frame an exploration of gender and leadership. In the last decade, the definition of an effective leader has shifted from charismatic decision maker to steward, designer, and builder of learning organizations. During the same period, some researchers have suggested that women are inherently more suited to these new leadership approaches. Drawing on Kegan’s theory of development, we propose that the qualities that make for effective new-style leadership are a function not of gender, but of complexity of mind. However, we also draw on the model of Women’s Ways of Knowing to suggest that, assuming the requisite cognitive complexity, women’s greater capacity for “relational-based approach to knowing and learning“ may make them more effective in the new leadership roles.
Research Professor on society, culture, art, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, neuroscience, autopoiesis, self-organization, complexity, systems, networks, rhizomes, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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