Will the future be feminine?

“Having worked with many outstanding leaders, I would say that women are better adapted for the complex world we are living in. As we move towards more volatile, uncertain times, connection, empathy and awareness tend to matter more - traits that are traditionally seen as feminine. These creative competencies address this environment better, as controlling and reactionary positionings fail to be effective in achieving success.

Traditionally, a leader was supposed to know everything and to exert their authority over all, but today everything has become so rapid and complex that we can no longer expect one person to know everything. We are seeing a shift from a patriarchal to a more agile model.

The most effective female leaders in particular have an outstanding interpersonal intelligence and capacity for connection as well as being true team players, collaborators and mentors. This differentiates women as being better suited to handle the challenges of our modern era and drive change in meaningful ways.

For example, working with many leaders, we created a matrix that we call the business performance index. What we saw is that creative leaders correlate with better business results, and women almost always displayed higher levels of creativity, and less reactionary, controlling attributes, than their men counterparts. Women leaders provide the kind of agile leadership organisations are looking for in today's complexity.

But ultimately I believe that the future is authentic leadership; not male, not female, but authentic. Yet when you start being authentic and transparent, you will appear more feminine, no matter if you are female or a male. Women tend to be able to make that move more readily because it’s more in tune with who and what they are naturally. Once this new model takes root, I think we will begin to see many more women rising to the top and thriving in all aspects of life.

Therefore I believe creative, authentic minds will drive the future.”

Betsy Leatherman is the president of both The Leadership Circle and Full Circle Group. She has been helping top leaders, including those at Roche, tap into their creativity and reach their goals. She is especially passionate about the topic of female leadership, having worked with exceptional women from whom she has learned tremendously. She hopes her sons Riley (10) and Kieran (8) will live in a world where gender equality is a reality for everyone.

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Visual by
Lonnie Christopher
Meet the artist

"Emerging" (2016) by Lonnie Christopher

The visual on this page may appear as a traditional oil painting, but it is in fact a digital painting by the American artist Lonnie Christopher. Lonnie’s passion for digital painting tools started when he was a young man. After finishing his studies in computer engineering and attending art school at night, he moved to Silicon Valley where he consulted big tech companies like Adobe to develop their paint programmes.

Life took a sudden turn when he fell sick with a mystery, life-threatening illness his doctors could not diagnose. Bedridden, he spent almost a decade unable to paint, to what turned out to be a brain abnormality. “This is why I started working with digital tools originally because it gave me a way to gain back some of what I lost. Over time I was able to paint again, but I still have a lot of perception issues, which the digital tools help me with.

This is why I started working with digital tools originally because it gave me a way to gain back some of what I lost.
Lonnie Christopher American artist

The vision of what I want to make has always stayed the same, it's just how I get there now that is different. I needed a way to get through my ordeal and this did that for me, and it continues to let me create my vision of the world.”