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Karin Klenke

  • The word 'leadership' is found in every language. It can be traced back at least as far as ancient Egypt. ... In English, the word 'leader' is more than 1000 years old, and little has changed from its Anglo-Saxon root laedere, meaning 'people on a journey' ...

  • Putting a strict, presumably encompassing definition on leadership limits our thinking about the phenomenon. Moreover, the requirement that an agreed-upon definition be established hinders individuals in thinking critically and deciphering for themselves what leadership means in different situations.

  • Women, with few exceptions, have had no place in history as leaders.

  • Leadership and management are not incompatible, no more than leadership and followership are at odds with one another. Managers produce orderly results, concentrate on the short run, seek consistence, and solve problems. Leaders by contrast produce significant change, develop long-term visions, establish new directions, and produce innovative and creative opportunities. Managers thrive on order and control, while leaders embrace chaos and empowerment. Managers tend to avoid conflict, while leaders find creative value in conflict. ... An effective balance between leadership and management is essential for organizational survival and success.

  • ... empirical evidence of female-male differences in leader behaviors, leadership styles, and evaluations of female and male leaders is fragile at best. When we conflate leadership with gender, we imply that there are women's ways of leading and men's ways of leading. The review of the scientific evidence of gender differences in leadership leaves us with some perplexing questions. In contrast to popular writers, leadership researchers generally seem to agree that there are few and negligible gender differences in actual leader behavior. Moreover, the scientific evidence fails to support the notion of a distinctive 'feminine' leadership style portrayed by the popular literature.

  • Women in leadership roles share many of the structural characteristics of tokens: they are highly visible, public individuals who attract attention with anything they do; as such, they are stand-ins for all women, symbols of how women behave and perform as leaders. As tokens, women leaders are different in status from other members of their work group. The pressure of being a minority sets women apart by gender even before anything is said or done. Token leaders find themselves in the organizational limelight; their actions and moves are constantly scrutinized, and they are faced with pressures that result from the application of performance standards that are only applicable to tokens. Many token women have reported that they must work twice as hard as their male colleagues to be considered competent.

  • While many of the legal barriers to women's participation in the workforce and access to leadership positions in corporations have been removed through legislation, changing demographics, and women's increased level of education and experience, women still face many obstacles on the path to leadership.

  • I believe that critical requirements for 21st century leaders include the ability to think metaphorically, globally, and futuristically.

  • A common theme present in most discussions of leadership for the 21st century is the leader's ability to create, articulate, and communicate not only a vision, but, more importantly, a global vision.

  • Developing oneself as a leader takes time. If we take leadership development seriously, it occupies much of our life space across the entire lifespan.

  • Leaders at all levels need practice, practice, and more practice to yield new knowledge from their experiences, which can be applied to the future leadership situations in which they find themselves. They also need opportunities to test concepts and theories in a variety of leadership situations and in different contexts.

  • The days when women leaders were viewed as deficit males are a relic of the past. ... Instead of treating women leaders as exceptions or anomalies who are categorized as 'women leaders,' and not just 'leaders,' we have to acknowledge that the number of women leaders will eventually reach a critical mass.

  • Effective leadership depends on a complex pattern of interactions among leaders, followers, and situations.

Karin Klenke, U.S. organizational leadership consultant, writer