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A Design to Activate Fe+Male Leadership Synergy in your Organization

Exceptional Leadership by Design: How Design in Great Organizations Produces Great Leadership

ISBN: 978-1-78743-901-6, eISBN: 978-1-78743-900-9

Publication date: 17 September 2018


This chapter illustrates how human-centered design (HCD) principals can activate Fe+Male leadership synergy inside an organization. We explore how it is possible to: foster a favorable environment and culture that values gender inclusivity; ends blatant discriminatory practices to which many organizations are blind; fortify the confidence of highly capable women and men; and reconcile the divergence of views, communication, and unique leadership styles between men and women leaders. We look at the experiences of women inside organizations along with the beliefs, aspirations, challenges, and needs of women. The chapter provides an HCD guideline for the reader to align the current modus operandi in their own organization for better gender synergy.

We know that complementary male and female styles of leadership create invaluable synergy, and that organizations with more women on board and senior management positions will, on average, outperform organizations without women at top positions. However, women, especially at the top echelon, are sorely lacking in numbers. Without more women around – real synergy is impossible. Increasing transparency, policies such as “disclosure of the gender pay gap” and advocacy by senior leaders will continue to break down some of the barriers and biases, but statistics across all industries and countries show that we are a very long way off and need a new approach to end this dilemma.

How can HCD increase the percentage of female leaders at the table and the chance for gender synergy? In this chapter, you learn facts to fight fiction and influence mindsets that are limited by biases. This chapter introduces four specific target areas to advance Fe+Male synergy. Although most men (based in democracies) intellectually agree that men and women are equal and are highly offended when their sanction for equality is brought into question, most are completely blind to how daily actions (many unintentionally) perpetuate the state of inequity. The biggest leadership issue is getting the whole organization aligned with the principle as well as a visible manifestation of gender synergy.


van der Steege, M. (2018), "A Design to Activate Fe+Male Leadership Synergy in your Organization", Elkington, R., van der Steege, M., Glick-Smith, J.L. and Breen, J.M. (Ed.) Exceptional Leadership by Design: How Design in Great Organizations Produces Great Leadership, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 91-117.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018 Madeleine van der Steege