Thursday, 8 March 2012


Diversity Hub is running its larger official International Women's Day event, "Women as Leaders" for women at its Churchgate premises, while half a dozen men meet in their alternative session here in the bowels of Leicester Adult Education College.

You could hardly imagine six more right-on chaps taking part in this (and take that in the most positive light please, faithful reader). While I'm not writing any of this with irony and we're not meeting ironically, still we can't help acknowledge the irony of the situation. There's a frisson of transgressiveness about it. We start off rather self-conscious and self-aware if anything we say could be thought of as condescending or patronising - even though there are no women here to hear us. Still, at the start there is the feeling of looking over our shoulders (that wasn't just me, was it?)

Here are a few of the topics and themes we touched on:
  • Collaboration with women as leaders
  • How to encourage men to shut up and clear space for women to speak?
  • Men as formal leaders, facilitators, managers of meetings
  • Difference between leadership styles of men and women in business, education, politics
  • Results of men and women adopting typical traits of each other - does that make for a more balanced style?
  • Appropriate and inappropriate behaviour in the workplace
  • Cultural norms (regarding body language, deference, eye contact, physical contact) that amplify, cut across, subvert gender relations
  • How we model kinds of male and female leadership to our children
  • Rising above and beyond the blame culture, to allow situations where men and women can work together
  • Our ideas of what we can do as men - by ourselves, with other men, with women - are things we've mostly picked up from others, not thought through entirely for ourselves
  • Treating people as being all the same is not the same as treating them as equals
  • To be a leader, one needs followers
  • Can one have followers without knowing it?
  • Can one be a leader without knowing it?

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