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DP Insights

The Yin and Yang of Leadership

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Our world is filled with dualities: land and water, night and day, bright colors and dark colors, high notes and low notes. In all of these things, we see beauty and power, but when we witness them working together harmoniously, we experience these elements on a totally new level.

Can you think of anything that does not have an inherent duality? Minerals, plants, animals and people all exist in pairs. Now why would that be? The Divine Principle tells us that “as for humankind, God created a man (male), Adam, in the beginning; then, seeing that it was not good that man should be alone (Gen. 2:18), He made a woman (female), Eve, and for the first time God saw that His creation was ‘very good’ (Gen. 1:31). This is because all things are created to exist through a reciprocal relationship between their dual essentialities.”

Would you say that, in leadership today, this duality exists? Government and business seem to be predominantly male-run. The only kind of areas where female leadership tends to be on par with that of males is the school system, where there are just as many women principals and superintendents as there are male. Is this surprising, or is it pretty much on point with what we expect of the nature of men and women in leadership? And should it change?

Is it about time we had more female leaders?

Women excel in relationship and connection, and often bring consideration, thoughtfulness, etiquette and warmth to the table. Mother Moon calls this the “logic of love.” That and their knack for expression and sincere listening make it no wonder that they would excel in school settings. However, in the business world, politics and global affairs, competition and drive have been taking the wheel. Men tend to be direct and systematic, deciding quickly and with ambition, practicing the “logic of power”. That is why some of the most influential bodies of leadership—national governments and big businesses—run the way they do today.

But times are changing. Mother Moon explains that “what we see in our societies today is the amplification of problems of an internal nature, such as the collapse of traditional values and the breakdown of social order. Even now, tens of millions of people on this earth are dying of starvation. Underlying this problem of the amount and distribution of the world’s food supply is the even more fundamental problem of the desiccation of the love which would otherwise let us see these suffering people as our own sons and daughters, our own brothers and sisters, our own mothers and fathers.”

Is having more women leaders the answer? Yes and no. The feminine logic of “peace, reconciliation, compassion, love, service and sacrifice,” is sorely missing and an aspect that women can offer. But does that mean we should aim that as many presidents, CEOs and national leaders as possible are women? Isn’t what we really need balance and interaction?

How to create a balance

Both masculine and feminine approaches have strengths and limitations. When an organization is dominated by either masculine or feminine approaches, there is a risk that the downsides of that approach will emerge. With a balance of masculine and feminine approaches, the organization gets more of the strengths and less of the downsides of each. And there is more likely to be a balance with both men and women at the top.

Our focus should be on how to create an infrastructure that successfully harmonizes masculine and feminine leadership styles. The fundamental issue is that we need a more balanced leadership style—a yin and yang design.

Women and men need each other. It may be hard to admit, but just try working together and making a conscious effort to appreciate the different aspects that you both offer. By having all heads in the game and practicing productive communication to come to a common understanding, we can unlock a whole new level of leadership.

Next time you are in a leadership position and working closely with a person of the opposite gender, study them closely and learn to appreciate the elements of their style, how they work and what they contribute to the project. Then come back and let us know what you discovered and how you create balance in leadership. Have you found other ways in which balance in leadership might be important, such as bridging generation or cultural gaps? Tell us what you think in the comments!