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EditorialsUp Front 07/11

Up Front 07/11

Reading about Margaret Thatcher recently, I was surprised to note that it was only a little more than twenty years ago when she was still in power. I had thought it was much longer – something about the Thatcher years has always made me think of the dark ages. Much as I appreciate the ‘bigger picture’ and the benefits of strong leadership, I can’t help but remember that there were a lot of very unhappy people living throughout that era. The Iron Lady often trampled over opposition with more testosterone than a South African rugby team. On one level she was massively successful, but could she have been even more successful? Whilst more and more women are assuming roles as managers, a new study has revealed that rather than using what should come more easily to them, like empathy and compassion, many women are increasingly turning to the stereotypically ‘male’ traits, such as aggression, to get results. The study by Professor Paula Nicolson, from the Department of Health and Social Sciences at Royal Holloway, University of London, says that instead of fighting their ‘natural instincts’ women should embrace them, because displaying emotional intelligence is the key to being a better leader. Although Professor Nicolson’s study predominately concentrated on management in the NHS, she says the results can be applied to any leaders whether in politics, banking or even football management. Professor Nicolson said, “It’s almost like women feel that they must ‘act like a man’ and overly develop traits often more associated with power-hungry city traders. This notion drives women away from a healthy assertiveness into emulating more aggressive male models.” Whilst many television programmes actively encourage bullying, underhand techniques and pushiness to gain success, it is a system that has no real long term benefit. Trampling on the little people and talking tough around a boardroom table may make one feel powerful and important, but working for a long term solution for everyone is a far more valuable goal.

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