Leadership development is another area of personal and professional growth that is, not surprisingly, undergoing change. What we historically attribute to leadership style is no longer working as we move further and further away from a one-size-fits-all workplace to a more collaborative culture of innovation. Historically, the ‘command-control’ leader who intimidated people into motivation was the macho style that was ‘traditional’.

Stereotypically, this is thought of ‘male leadership’, though I’ve been in the past a pretty bossy woman and have known some pretty bossy women. Then there’s the so-called ‘female leadership’ style that is supposedly not strategic, is overly inclusive to a fault, and is expected to be the caregiver personality – the ‘Mother Hen’.

Actually, the truth is that some women are empathetic, some are bossy, and then there’s everything in between. For men I can say the same, though both genders tend to unconsciously hold themselves in socially conditioned patterns – in certain conditions.

It’s not so much the way ‘we are’ as it is ‘the way we think we are’.

Considering that we are now in the 21st century and technology can replace ‘assembly line’ jobs, why wouldn’t leaders also need to change the way we do things? Why do we continue to expect people to act a certain way based on gender? The workplace is very diverse generationally, culturally, and perceptually. I say perceptually in that there are differences in what is expected out of a job: performance, behaviors, values and relationships, for example.

The older generation, the ‘Boomers and The Matures’, are trenched in the tradition of ‘either/or’ – either work your life away or you are lazy. It’s the old hard-work ethic. Many of the ‘Millennials’ are seeking more work/life balance, more personal development, and more autonomy and upward mobility based on ability and not politics. Of course, there are variations of expectations across generational lines, as well. In order for leaders to adapt to change more rapidly and with more ease, we will need to look for some real innovative solutions, like changing how we think so we can have better people-leadership skills.

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” ~Leo Tolstoy

Change doesn’t mean ‘fixing yourself’. It simply means leaning and growing. One idea to make this easier is to change the perception about leadership and personal development. Our brain can actually do this! We have this unconscious mindset that it means we are ‘broken’ if it is suggested that we need to change what we are currently doing. This is only a mindset.

Since according to the new Towers and Watson Global Workforce Report 2013 warns to get ready for ‘continuous learning’ or get left behind, it would behoove us to stop playing the gender stereotyping game and learn how to optimally operate our amazing brain to become the authentic leader that is within us trying to get out.

Men can let their empathetic side show up when society recognizes the power of empathy to transform the workplace. Women can learn how to have boundaries without guilt when we realize that structure and process is not ‘male’, and also allow others to support us instead of trying to do it all. Being able to say no can help us as women to help more people without burning ourselves out. Being lax on holding others accountable is not equal to empathy.

Now here’s the thing – what I just wrote as behaviors of women can apply to some men. What I wrote about men hiding their natural ‘mammalian’ empathy can apply to some women. It’s not about biology; it’s about mindset or cognitive development. Actually, gender and biological sex are not even the same thing. The good news is that we can change our brain and mind. And we can do it so that we can eliminate the blind spot of the ‘Battle of the Sexes’.

We have enough challenges to deal with out here. This one can finally be addressed with real science and, if you are open-minded enough, with real-life experience. Are you up for the adventure of taking your personal growth, gifts, and talents to a new level regardless of gender? It could take your life, career, or your business to a place that reaches more of your true potential and helps you to innovate and adapt to change more easily – for good.

Author's Bio: 

Valencia Ray, M.D. teaches business owners and corporate leaders how their amazing brain can actually hijack personal power -- not in the abstract, but in the context of integrating business and personal life. Dr. Ray, a board-certified eye surgeon and medical business owner for over 20 years before selling her practice, shares her own life changing process. By sharing her story, she helps others to expand their vision and learn that by living with purpose and confidence, it is possible to have a more integrated, healthier lifestyle – with less struggle, more inner peace and more abundance.

For more information and to contact her regarding dynamic, inspirational keynotes, trainings in collaborative leadership and team building, entrepreneurship and coaching programs, visit her website at http://www.ValenciaRay.com.