When Women Lead: Integrative Leadership in State Legislatures

By Cindy Simon Rosenthal | Go to book overview

achievement of significant change that represents the collective or pooled interests of leaders and followers." 127


Conclusion

In 1988, then House Majority Leader Chris Paulson complained that the women of the Colorado legislature had perfected the skills required for campaigns but not for lawmaking:

"They go home at night and write notes to thank the people that helped them get elected. Those are sure votes. But they don't have the right skills for legislating. They don't have any business experience. They don't have any experience making decisions. They don't understand why everything cannot be done." 128

Ehrenhalt argues that Paulson's frustrations do not reflect a gender difference but rather characterize a new breed of legislator and the tension between the politics of campaigning and the politics of legislating. 129 Indeed a new breed of legislator may be caught up in campaigning and less concerned with policymaking, but Ehrenhalt is too quick to dismiss the possibility of a gender difference and may have identified the wrong tension.

Paulson's criticism of women in 1988 reflects the assumptions of aggregative leadership -- the command-and-control philosophy of the military world and the logic of exchange and reciprocity found in markets and business. The integrative style, which many women embrace, is a fundamentally different way of approaching the legislative institution and the processes of lawmaking. In ways that a former military man like Paulson would appreciate and presumably see in the business world, aggregative leaders are decisive, give orders, understand the logic of the marketplace, and keep situations under control. By contrast, integrative leaders try to educate, to bring people along, to seek seemingly impossible consensus, and to communicate their appreciation for everyone's contribution. The circumstances that provoked Paulson's comment in 1988 are obscure, but his frustration may reflect the clash of these different leadership perspectives. Legislating in the old aggregative style means counting noses and putting together winning coalitions. Integrative leadership values listening and participation, strives for consensus in the face of disagreements, and sees value in thank-you notes.

The environment in Colorado tilts toward the integrative rather than the aggregative model of leadership so clearly dominant in Oklahoma. A collaborative policy process is necessary to bind together the state's diverse interests, a moralistic tendency motivates political leaders, and an open participative process is a tradition of the Colorado legislature. But it also seems to be the case that women in their committee leadership roles are pushing the envelope subtly closer to the integrative ideal.

-158-

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When Women Lead: Integrative Leadership in State Legislatures
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Tojim v
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Contents xi
  • List of Figures and Tables xiii
  • 1 3
  • 2 - Gender, Leadership, and Legislatures: Theoretical Roots 18
  • Conclusion 31
  • 3 - The Origins of Different Committee Styles 32
  • Conclusion 51
  • 4 - The Components of Integrative Leadership: Motivation, Behavior, and Style 54
  • Conclusion 75
  • 5 - The Constraints of Place on Leadership 77
  • Conclusion 94
  • 6 - Oklahoma: Leadership in No-Woman's Land 96
  • Conclusion 115
  • 7 - Ohio: Gender Power in a Time of Leadership Transition 117
  • Conclusion 135
  • 8 - Colorado: Defining the Standards of Leadership 137
  • Conclusion 158
  • 9 - A Vision of Integrative Leadership 159
  • Appendix: Methodology 168
  • Notes 181
  • References 219
  • Index 233
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