Posted by: travislipscomb132 | January 28, 2016

The Truth About Leadership

One of the most prevalent subjects that keeps being explored throughout our reading is the idea of this division between male and female leadership traits.  Why? Why do we feel the need to even acknowledge such a gap, pushing us farther away from equality? All of the people supposedly fighting for equality really seem to be setting us up for a giant cage match instead.

In this corner we have Women, weighing in with at sensitive, kind, careful, and understanding. And in this corner we have Men, weighing in with assertiveness, aggression, and independence.

I do not believe any of these scholars and educators are trying to set us further away from our common goal, but I do believe they are blinding us from the truth of what leadership really is; and what we should be looking for.

Leadership cannot be defined, or should we say confined, to a single definition based on any set of traits. It’s to large of a concept for that. It’s bigger than any dispute over who’s gender is best. The sooner we, as a people, realize this, then the sooner we can move on to creating a society full of extraordinary leaders of both sexes destined to do great things. The role of the leader is never going to be easy, it’s going to be full of ups and downs, all assortments of conflicts, and most importantly all kinds of defeat. But it is through these conflicts, and through these defeats, that allow leaders to develop higher levels of creativity, motivation, social awareness, and clarity.

Leadership should be depicted with two individuals functioning together as one, like partners on the same team, challenging each other physically and mentally to reach new levels of proficiency. Therefore, if the leader is ever gone, the follower has been challenged enough along the way to now be successful on his/her own, and to teach another in the same way.

As long as people in this world continue to refuse to see others of different color, gender, and religion as partners, instead of enemies, then we still have a lot to fight for.


  1. I really like what you said about leadership being the functioning of two together as one. For me, I initially think of marriage and being in union with another person forever. However, it could be as simple as working with someone on a project or being a business partner with someone. Leadership is such an abstract term and something that I’ve learned over the course of this program is that it’s really hard to base a definition on something when context really does matter. I think a big characteristic of being a good leader is also being a good follower. I think it’s important to learn to serve first, to help to become a leader and having a good, genuine relationship with followers can help with that.

  2. I love this! I think one of the first times I realized how much I loved learning about leadership is when we learned (so long ago) about transformational leadership. I thought of this, and continue to think of this, as one of the most simple and yet profound lessons about a good leader.
    A follower is never just a follower. Being a great follower is being a leader as well. I love the idea of active followership and servant leadership. It is really cool to think about leadership in this way, as leaders and followers simultaneously building one another up to reach greater heights.

  3. I loved everything about this post and if I could have retweeted it I definitely would have. It’s so easy to get stuck in our ways of letting society’s stereotypes constrain our ability to genuinely get to know another person. My view of leadership has changed dramatically over the course of my time in the program. I agree with Lindsey and Molly about how they define leadership. Servant and Transformational leadership are my favorite conceptions of leadership. In terms of characterizing leadership, I hope that in the future, as we progress towards viewing people as people and not stereotypes, I hope that they way we describe leadership is the same across the board regardless of gender/sex. People take different approaches to leadership based on personal style and their gender/sex should not categorize their leadership.

  4. Travis, this post made my day! Instead of getting rid of the boxes all together, we as a society take to evening out the contents of the box as equally as possible. This equaling out helps some boxes, hinders others, and destroys whatever is left. We do this all too often when discussing inequalities between two groups; the Oscars are too white, so let us nominate all black people or this conference is all men so let us make a separate women’s conference. The idea behind equality is working together to reach a more equal, common ground. I believe this is one of the big reasons why there are people afraid to call themselves feminists, because they think of feminists as those who want to see women take over the world. What if we gave women a chance to fight for their dreams, whatever they may be, right alongside men that have that same dream? Is your society of extraordinary leaders of both sexes ever possible? Can we remove the stereotypes and generalizations of women without labeling men with stereotypes and generalizations of their own? Instead of deep frying men for past injustices, might the two parties look towards the future for ways to close the gap between the two?

  5. I had a hard time following what your point of view on the topic of division of leadership traits between sexes was at first. When you made reference to the fact that you think that by acknowledging the gap, which scholars do, pushes us farther away from equality. Pitting one sex against the other? But then you note that you do not think that scholars are trying to further us from the goal of finding what true leadership is. I was confused. I did however agree that conflicts of sorts help leaders to escalate to higher levels of “creativity, motivation, social awareness, and clarity”. This resilience is something that is instilled into the American dream. Adversely, missed the mark a bit when stating that women are “sensitive, kind, careful, and understanding” and men are “assertiveness, aggression, and independence”. I say this because you make it sound as if women have made no strides since basically the 19th century. Which is blatantly not true. Often times women are noted as being assertive and aggressive in leadership positions…specially ones that call for high management. I would note that these women are sometimes seen as threatening or intimidating. The point is, women do possess the qualities that you deemed masculine, they just sometimes don’t use those traits to lead because of the fear of being called bossy. Personally, I think acknowledging the gap can be a great aid in learning what steps need to be taken in order to grow the leadership realm, especially with women in mind. But overall, I like that you shared you thoughts and for the most part, It made sense what you were trying to get at. Nice work bud!

  6. I really liked your post Travis! I agree with some of the other comments about transformational leadership being one of the key elements in leadership. This concept was one of my all time favorites throughout the entire leadership program. Also, your comment about people “functioning together as one” really resonated with me because this is what leadership should be about. I think if we spread this message that working as one unit while removing stereotypes and the conventional way of thinking then leadership would be on the way to full equality.

  7. Preach! This is exactly how I feel. Why try to make people equal by separating them apart? This idea relates back to the stereotypes that Liz mentioned in her post. Why do we always think of women as soft caregivers and men as loud aggressive leaders? Sometimes it is accurate, other times the polar opposite, but the best leaders blur the lines and use stereotypical traits of both genders.

    One thing I had not previously thought of was the partner/teammate analogy you brought to light. That is a very interesting and true statement from my personal experiences.

    The only question I have is to the title of the post “The Truth About Leadership”. Are there really in define truths about leadership?

  8. I agree that we (general group of people in the United States) should start to see the person and what that person can offer a group instead of looking at the person and making assumptions of what they can’t offer to a group. It is also sad that society likes to define leadership as “the state or position of being a leader” (taken from google’s definition of Leadership) instead of “A process that brings change to a group of people”. We are in a competitive society that wants to recognize leadership as a position and not an act. I think this definition is the reason for some of the biases in high positions of companies. If the urban definition starts to change then maybe we will see that change in media as well.

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