Besides imploding our national economy, the Great Recession has begun to change the power structure in the capitalist world. The victims of this economic transformation are the macho CEOs, the swashbuckling hedge fund managers and the cowboy politicians. Americans from Main Street to Wall Street are beginning to see that these guys with their risk taking, cavalier decision-making and out and out greed ruined their life savings and their future.
Hardly a day goes by without news of a captain of industry being booted out of office or carted off to jail or called before an angry committee of Congress. The days of the ” my way of the highway” approach to leadership coupled with the guaranteed golden parachute for failure are coming to an end, and none too soon.
The beneficiaries of the demise of macho leadership are women, who have been pushing the glass ceiling for years with little success. With men at all levels of the employment ladder losing their jobs with greater frequency, women are now moving into the void, including the top jobs in business, finance and government. The coming years may just be the time when the face of leadership changes dramatically in this country.
With macho in retreat, women leaders bring a whole new set of values and approaches to their new found opportunities. Women, unlike the good ol’ boys, are more cautious managers, more team oriented decision-makers and more socially responsible community stewards. Women leaders are not soft, wimpy or averse to doing what it takes to move their business or institution forward, but they are not bound by the culture of the ” take no prisoners” attitude that permeated the world of corporations, banking, and government.
Now since this is a transition period when the macho culture is on the wane, don’t look for men to go quietly into the night and give up power to a new matriarchy. There will still be plenty of guys in suits riding in corporate jets. But there will also be more women in suits riding the jets. But the big difference will be in the style of management, the character of decision-making and the importance placed on long term planning, not short term gain.
It will be interesting to see how the female model of leadership works in the coming years; it can only be better than what the macho guys have done to bring this economy to its knees.