Who Run The World?

In all my life I have never been in a professional setting with so many women.  I have experienced female supervisors and bosses, but there were still men who were either superior or equivalent to them.  At RMHC Richmond, there are almost no men. On their payroll, there are three men listed, two of them are house assistants and the third is the housekeeper.  Every single executive, managerial, or coordinating position is filled by a woman. While it is common to find more women in nonprofits, this overwhelming majority of female leaders in a well-run and successful organization does not make sense to many.  

According to many theorists’ concepts of how our gender contributes to leadership, an all female work-place would not be effective because men are more suited for leadership.  Carli and Eagly refute these claims by stating that women are not worse leaders by nature, but different leaders with their own skill set. Incongruity still exists, however, because these skills and personal attributes do not align with the typical leadership ideal, which is more masculine.  The chapter concludes with the observation that this incongruity is minimizing as leadership becomes more androgynous and more women are rising up in the ranks.

I had not recognized the imbalance in gender at first; I work in one department with little interaction with others.  My first real moment of acknowledgement was on Tuesday of this week when I was invited to attend a Cross-Team Meeting.  In this meeting, all available staff who were not house assistants congregated to update each other on their own projects.  The first thing I noticed was how casual and friendly the environment was; even though it was a business meeting, nobody was taking themselves too seriously.  Despite this warm and inviting environment, when it was time to get into business, everybody stopped talking and directed their attention to the Executive Director as she began the meeting.  Throughout the meeting, everybody respectfully took notes on what the others had to say as well as applauded each accomplishment that was noted. These accomplishments included breaking ground on new spaces and properties for RMHC Richmond because the organization was quickly outgrowing their one house, a massive influx in donations thanks to a newly devised initiative, and the honor of having a representative from our chapter go speak at a RMHC Global convention.  

RMHC Richmond exemplifies the androgynous nature of good leadership that Carli and Eagly explore.  The all female staff exhibit friendliness and unselfishness which are typically associated with femininity, they are also assertive when it comes to the needs of the organization which is considered a masculine quality.  Most importantly the leaders of RMHC Richmond display androgynous traits like cooperation and team-building. Of course, it is hard to discuss gender differences in leadership in a specific field when we do not have another gender to compare it to.  The lack of men at RMHC Richmond makes it hard to conclude anything concerning the effectiveness of the women in charge based on their gender. Perhaps it is not the gender of the leaders that make them good in this context, but instead it is how they interact with their followers and raise their morale and morality.  At the Cross-Team meeting, I saw a lot of transformational leadership from everyone. Every person who presented worked to raise the morale of the other staff members, their followers, by sharing good news and milestones while also increasing the morality because of they would explain how these accomplishments would contribute to their overall goal of helping families with sick children.  I believe both theories apply to RMHC Richmond in their own way as the organization continues to achieve their goals and push to help those that seek them out.

One thought on “Who Run The World?

  • July 17, 2019 at 4:01 pm

    Really interesting dynamic with all the leadership positions held by women. Good discussion of the qualities (male, female, androgynous) that the RMHC leaders exhibit. Also interesting rumination about whether it is gender related at all or just the nature of the individuals in leadership roles. For the paper you will write this fall, you need to do a deep dive into one theory, discussing all the elements of the theory and providing examples from your internship that illustrate (or do not illustrate) the various elements. If you were to dive into gender, as you’ve started here, you’ll need to go deeper, provide more examples. You mention transformational leadership at the end, though you discuss this only very briefly. If you were to choose transformational for the fall paper, you’d need to talk about all four elements (idealized influence/charisma, intellectual stimulation, individualized consideration, and inspirational motivation) and provide examples from your internship that illustrate (or do not illustrate) each.

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