Balance. It’s not about gender. It’s not about diversity. It’s not about equality. It’s about the power–the ancestral power–of generating and enacting ideas that bring pride and harmony to big groups, like families, organizations, and nations.
Women often excel at making balanced decisions in the best interest of their communities. They do so in a manner that addresses the individual members’ emotions and knowledge. Do you want proof of this? Simply recall the balance of love, reason, occasional sternness, and sympathy your mother brought to millions of decisions she made for your family over the years.
Strong women have direct access to the power of balance. We are experts in making balanced decisions, and we need not separate ourselves from human history to do so. We’re daughters, wives, mothers, sisters, and lovers. In playing these varied roles, women have long exercised both sides of our brains in making wise and valuable decisions.
I make the case for women because balanced leadership is essential to staying relevant in the global market. Global leadership does not depend on a business background or a great education alone–but on a mix of education, relevant experience, and the natural evolution of our own anthropological history. It requires that one embrace simultaneous change in three dimensions.
A balanced leader creates the best possible emotional architecture for her people. Designing processes that satisfy and respect your employees’ emotional lives is fundamental to both employee and client satisfaction. We don’t stop feeling when we get to work.
Work with employees, for instance, to create schedules that make sense for the lives and review processes that are fair and effective.
Above all, make sure that your organizational values are clearly spelled out and universally respected. Assessing the value structure of your company will give you the most important tools to design financial success.
The most talented people you have are the ones who are most aligned with your company’s bedrock beliefs. It is your job to give these people the right environment to perform well. Balanced leadership aligns company strategy to employees’ passion and talents.
Make sure you actively listen to your employees and help them find ways to bring their natural interests into their work. When it’s your turn to talk, carefully explain the different steps of your strategy. In doing so, you will evolve the company while also delivering on shareholders’ objectives. When necessary, dissent openly with your team and give different scenarios to approach any given challenge.
As a balanced leader, you must create an environment that is fair to every stakeholder–inside and outside your organization. You might establish daily practices to connect emotionally, share best practices and thought leadership with your clients.
Ensure your values positively reflect those of your clients. If you can build an emotional bridge that also delivers on business goals, then that client will be yours forever.
You don’t want to create the ideal work environment–in fact that does not exist. Instead, create the right one.
To build the right organizational culture, be obsessively, consistently true to your values. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote: “Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.”
A balanced leader delivers the appropriate outcomes to her employees, and they will do anything to deliver the right products and services to clients.
Insisting on your values isn’t always easy. Leaders face many pressures from many directions. The individuals in your organization will want to see their own ideals realized in both the short and long terms–and these won’t necessarily be the best for your business.
If a leader wants to evolve her organization and can’t count on their employees’ trust, and she can’t trust her employees’ desire to win, to be flexible, to understand and exceed their limits, the processes of emotional organization will fail and the right goals will not be achieved.
In emotionally balanced organizations, we support each other. It’s easier said than done, but it’s absolutely worth doing.
The balanced leader builds trust across the entire organization and with her clients. She weaves her teams into the decision-making process, executes accordingly, and shares the success. She doesn’t need her team to share the responsibility for making the wrong decision. She is comfortable with failures and knows how to change negative outcomes quickly. Why? As a balanced leader, she earns the trust of her people–by truly respecting and loving them.
Carmencita Bua is the chief operating officer of Continuum, a global innovation design consultancy.