By Ichak Adizes on
It Is Time for Feminine Energy
Let us first clarify what we mean by feminine energy and masculine energy. In this insight, I am not referring to a sexual differentiation. I am focusing on the difference in energy and style.
Masculine energy is linear, focused, and task-oriented. With masculine energy, more is better, i.e. quantity reflects quality. In Adizes Methodology lingo, masculine energy has more (PA) than (I) in its style. Masculine energy is manifested in a style of command and control; it is very conscious of hierarchy and, thus, militaristic in its leadership style.
Feminine energy is different. It is network-oriented; it aims to relate to as many people, thus, those with feminine energy like to get together and talk and relate, something those with masculine energy consider a waste of time.
The decision-making process of those with feminine energy unfolds in a specific way: defreeze, accumulate, deliberate, accommodate, and then reinforce. In contrast, those with masculine energy deem defreezing and reinforcing a waste of time, begin by accumulating and jump right into illumination and finalization with minimal deliberation or reinforcement1.
In modern times, feminine energy is rising in importance while masculine energy is losing the position of dominance that it has held for centuries.
Up until the internet revolution, the world’s economic environment was defined by agriculture and/or manufacturing. Agriculture and manufacturing support hierarchical, authoritarian (PA) forms of leadership.
That all changed with the introduction of the internet and the information revolution.
For instance, the internet revolution enabled the creation and growth of social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn. What is the sum of those social networks if not one big, global get-together? Social networks are not about command and control, but about getting together and sharing information.
As organizations become bigger and more complex, command and control do not work as well. Maintaining healthy and increasingly large organizations requires network relationships, participative decision-making, and sensitivity to others (especially if the people are millennials).
What organizations need now is participative decision-making, an approach perfectly suited to those with feminine energy and tough to adapt for those with masculine energy.
Our corporate environment is becoming more and more (I)-oriented. Those who do not have (I) are losing out on opportunities for promotion. It is not strange that some of the major companies in the USA are now headed by women.
The Adizes Methodology teaches how to make decisions structurally and participative. It is inclusive. It is concerned with the interests of others. The Adizes Methodology is popular among those with feminine energy and often rejected by those with masculine energy. But, as I said, leading with feminine energy is the future. Agriculture and manufacturing may have defined the past, but information sharing, storing, and using will define the future.
- There are eight steps in making a decision: defreeze is calming down so that one can focus on the task at hand. Accumulate is the step where one starts putting information together that is appropriate for the decision to be made. Deliberate is the step where the information accumulated is analyzed and patterns are identified. Incubation is the step where the decision-maker distances himself or herself from the information to see the bigger pattern, an illumination. It is followed by accommodation, where questions, doubts, and disagreements emerge. Finalization is where a decision is now taken, finalized. The final step is reinforcement, where a person seeks feedback that the decision taken was a good one.