James Allworth recently reviewed the popular book Lean In in the Harvard Business Review. His review can be summarized with the title, It’s Not Women Who Should Lean In; It’s Men Who Should Step Back, and one quote from it:
And that’s the problem that runs throughout the book. Despite spending so much time citing research about the benefits of having women in leadership positions, a lot of its recommendations focus on, to put it bluntly, making women more like men, without proper consideration of whether that would actually be a good thing. As I read, I wondered: why is it the women who should be copying the men? Why can’t it be the men who could be well served by taking a page out of an entirely different book: that of the very women Lean In is advising to change? What it is about women that men could emulate to make our workplaces, our families, and our society in general a better place?
I think that these are worthy questions. A big chunk of what is wrong with contemporary US society is the aggrandizement of arrogantly wealthy men. We do not need more overpaid CEOs, male or female. Instead we need to rethink what “leadership” ought to mean, and how we can start following leaders who are going the right way. Our current course looks too much like the following video of motorcyclists falling off a cliff one after another:
The hard part, of course, is finding leaders worth following, when all the (corporately owned) media are intent on increasing CEO worship.
I have some hope that the Maker movement will restore some leadership to those who create things, rather than to consumers and parasites, but it is currently too small and diffuse to have much effect on American culture as a whole.