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Marilyn Loden

  • No issue is more central to a discussion of leadership than the subject of power.

  • If there is one fact of corporate life which women of all philosophical persuasions seem to agree on, it is that women must work harder as a group than men to succeed within management. Regardless of the stories one may hear about unqualified women who are allegedly promoted to satisfy quotas, most women managers still believe that, as a group, they are moving up the hard way — by working diligently to prove their competence again and again.

  • The need for greater intimacy within organizations is an idea that most American business leaders have yet to accept. In the opinion of many, the idea is antithetical to the way professional business relationships have been developed and managed in the past. While this is absolutely true, it is also true that the strictly business approach to management used in the past is far less effective today. Instead of maintaining social distance at work, today's managers must be able to demonstrate caring, support, and concern for people. They must be relationship-builders first and supervisors second.

  • What made American industry grow and prosper in the past was its ability to capitalize on new ideas and move in new directions. To regain our prominence in the world marketplace, new ideas and new approaches to leading and managing are needed once again. Given the high demand that exists today for interpersonal skills, it seems obvious that feminine leadership is precisely the kind of new approach that can help American business manage change more effectively and prosper once again.

  • Managers must be able to accept conflict as an inevitable part of organizational life. For just as the process of change is becoming a given throughout industry, so the conflicts that inevitably result from change are also becoming a way of life in most organizations. ... Once conflict is seen as an inevitable by-product of change rather than as something either positive or negative, it is easier to approach, understand, and resolve effectively.

  • While some women argue that the corporate world is not yet ready for feminine leadership, I would argue that American industry is more ready today than it has ever been for this approach. The problem is one of recognition. Businesses simply have not yet recognized the contribution that women managers can make. They will become more receptive to this nontraditional style only when more women demonstrate a willingness to use it.

Marilyn Loden, U.S. change management expert

(1946)