So many of the attributes often associated with great leadership come from the masculine energy dimension – action, logic, boldness, physical strength, discipline, self-control, and so on. These attributes have facilitated many great achievements in the hands of some leaders and wrought unhelpful destruction in the hands of others when taken to extremes.
At this time when we are all thinking about the giving and receiving of gifts, it is perhaps worth considering how well we open ourselves to receive. Being open to receive is a very feminine quality and also demands vulnerability and softness. When we open ourselves we can become exposed – in terms of our knowledge, our feelings, and our lack of certainty.
The deep value in being open is that it creates possibility and space. It fosters the opportunity for something new and unexpected to emerge and, in that sense, is creative. The feminine is essentially creative – not in the direct action sense but in the qualitative sense – it allows the seed of the new to take root and be born.
In our world of complexity, uncertainty, and wicked problems, applying the qualities of openness, receptivity, and vulnerability to leadership opens the doorway to a new level of creative thinking.
It invites ‘possibility’ in to play alongside ‘not knowing’. Think about Michelangelo when he was preparing to create the statue of David. Too much masculine energy would not have seen the level of success that emerged in this masterpiece. Vital to its emergence was a deep vulnerability and needing to be open to being in relationship with the block of marble and allowing the vision to emerge.
As leaders, we too need to be open to emergence, to not knowing, and to trusting in a deeper intuition that even in the depth of not knowing, by staying open we can create masterpiece outcomes for the greater good of our world.