Magazine article Psychology Today

On Becoming a Leader

Magazine article Psychology Today

On Becoming a Leader

Article excerpt

ONE NIGHT YEARS ago I was working late, nursing a cold so bad that I felt emboldened to put on bedroom slippers in the office. I was abruptly called into a conference room that looked like a tribunal and offered stewardship of the magazine you are now reading. I was only in my twenties and I was dumbstruck-excited but also terrified. Not yet fully formed, in the beginning I occasionally made decisions based on how I thought my youth and gender might be perceived-namely, as nonauthoritative. Everyone survived, but I overcompensated in ways that I wouldn't have had I been more trusting of my instincts and abilities.

I now have a more nuanced understanding of leadership, one that allows for the realities of age and gender but doesn't see these markers as predictive or polarizing.

I look beyond gender in particular because when it comes to leadership-as well as creativity, or simply being-in-the-world-there is an advantage to psychological androgyny. This means embodying key traits (some would say stereotypes) of both male and female minds. …

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