Female and male leadership archetypes in conflict with our balance
I see them when flicking between TV channels with the remote control: lots of women spruced up in line with female standards; men oozing masculine charm, coolness and dominance; and of course a few who primarily appear to be living the opposite gender, at least on the outside. Most of the time it’s men exhibiting very female attributes. In contrast to their male colleagues, women treading the opposite-gender path come across as rather tough and up-front rather than as birds of paradise.
If I look more closely then the image becomes more differentiated and I recognise women who are actually living according to male gender patterns. The counterpart to this is men following female gender patterns, irrespective of their external appearance.
And a few people trap one’s gaze. And there it is, this deep internal authenticity, this coherence between appearance and actions that this person achieves. If I try to place a gender-specific template on it and translate the authenticity into gender-specific factors – i.e. a woman is immediately authentic if she is feminine on the inside and out – then I err.
What makes people authentic?
Let’s allow ourselves to look around us and give our brain the following instructions: find people whose external selves match their internal selves. In this instance, fewer people will trap our gaze. If we do find such a person around us then we should look very closely at them and ask ourselves the following questions:
- What makes this person authentic?
- Are women always authentic if they outwardly exhibit female values?
- Why doesn’t this principle (female gender means female actions means authenticity) work universally?
Why does the formula ‘male gender plus female actions means success and authenticity’ work for one man but not another?
The great fallacy
It’s very simple: each and every one of us has a different constitutional pattern. Everyone follows a different archetype. The work ‘archetype’ comes from the Greek and means ‘original form’. This archetype in us is independent of gender. It helps us to accomplish our activities in a way that is beneficial to the body. If we now transfer the expression ‘original image’ to ancient role patterns then we are only partly on the right track, as by doing so we overlook the fact that the original image is also related to a person’s available strength. This part of the archetype is dependent: dependent on our physical and mental constitution.
This constitution is in turn independent of gender. Put simply, there are also constitutionally weak men and constitutionally strong women. And there is a social change that makes survival independent of the role-based distribution of tasks. Once we have understood this then we also become aware that it is erroneous to think that we’d be authentic if we behaved in conformity with our biological gender.
Our social development challenges us by enabling us increasingly to live and survive independently of old role patterns.
The logical conclusion
If, in our society, we wish not only to survive but also to live well and healthily, i.e. remain in balance, then each one of us should connect with our archetype. We should recognise and understand it. We should adapt our leadership tasks and responsibilities to it. Rather than remaining mere acts of doing, our activities should instead, and once again, be tied to the purpose of our deepest pattern. Otherwise we’re literally running around with a snag that will at some point threaten to unravel the entire pattern in us if we start pulling at the loose thread. And society, our needs, our tasks, all these factors are pulling on us, making demands on us.
Anyone wishing to know more about their archetype or the deepest pattern in them, and anyone wishing to live out their archetype and fulfil their leadership tasks authentically, is warmly invited to take part in the ‘Female and Male Leadership Archetypes’ workshop from the Leadership Coaching series.