Lean In, or Butt Out
One of the promising things I saw about women getting more involved in the top leadership echelons of business is that they would bring something new and better: greater caution about risky behavior, more relational sensitivity — that they would bring something distinct to the table, genuine diversity. The research indicates that they tend to do this. But what happens when the loudest voices in the field of leadership development among women are advocates of greater ambition, aggression, of ‘leaning in’ because ‘nice girls don’t get the corner office’? What happens is that you get women who think the way to be leaders is to act like men. You get Sheryl Sandberg at Facebook overseeing the use of mass experimentation on us in order to gain information to drive hyper revenue-growth and with ne’er a thought for the ethics of the whole thing and a process devoid of empathy. Avoiding stuff like this is exactly why I want more women in leadership positions.
“Thousands of Facebook Inc. FB +1.43% users received an unsettling message two years ago: They were being locked out of the social network because Facebook believed they were robots or using fake names. To get back in, the users had to prove they were real.
“In fact, Facebook knew most of the users were legitimate. The message was a test designed to help improve Facebook’s antifraud measures. In the end, no users lost access permanently. “
Women in leadership positions in business is surely no longer a matter of controversy, on this side of the Burka Curtain. But the recent heavy push by bossy people to ban the word “bossy” — and the relentless promotion of the idea that we need to poke and prod women to “lean in” — takes the sensible idea that no human institution works properly without both men and women, and creates a different distortion, one in which women are told that the only way they can succeed in business is to become less like women.
Jerry Bowyer is a Forbes contributor, contributing editor of AffluentInvestor.com, and Senior Fellow in Business Economics at The Center for Cultural Leadership.
Jerry has compiled an impressive record as a leading thinker in finance and economics. He worked as an auditor and a tax consultant with Arthur Anderson, as Vice President of the Beechwood Company which is the family office associated with Federated Investors, and has consulted in various privatization efforts for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. He founded the influential economic think tank, the Allegheny Institute, and has lectured extensively at universities, businesses and civic groups.
Jerry has been a member of three investment committees, among which is Benchmark Financial, Pittsburgh’s largest financial services firm. Jerry had been a regular commentator on Fox Business News and Fox News. He was formerly a CNBC Contributor, has guest-hosted “The Kudlow Report”, and has written for CNBC.com, National Review Online, and The Wall Street Journal, as well as many other publications. He is the author of The Bush Boom and more recently The Free Market Capitalist’s Survival Guide, published by HarperCollins. Jerry is the President of Bowyer Research.
Jerry consulted extensively with the Bush White House on matters pertaining to the recent economic crisis. He has been quoted in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, The International Herald Tribune and various local newspapers. He has been a contributing editor of National Review Online, The New York Sun and Townhall Magazine. Jerry has hosted daily radio and TV programs and was one of the founding members of WQED’s On-Q Friday Roundtable. He has guest-hosted the Bill Bennett radio program as well as radio programs in Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles.
Jerry is the former host of WorldView, a nationally syndicated Sunday-morning political talk show created on the model of Meet The Press. On WorldView, Jerry interviewed distinguished guests including the Vice President, Treasury Secretary, HUD Secretary, former Secretary of Sate Condoleezza Rice, former Presidential Advisor Carl Rove, former Attorney General Edwin Meese and publisher Steve Forbes.
Jerry has taught social ethics at Ottawa Theological Hall, public policy at Saint Vincent’s College, and guest lectured at Carnegie Mellon’s graduate Heinz School of Public Policy. In 1997 Jerry gave the commencement address at his alma mater, Robert Morris University. He was the youngest speaker in the history of the school, and the school received more requests for transcripts of Jerry’s speech than at any other time in its 120-year history.
Jerry lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, Susan, and the youngest three of their seven children.
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