On Sunday while attending church I was reminded that Easter brings with it the new Spring digs, dresses, colors, shoes and even a few hats. I was reminded when I was a kid and my mom dragging me to the store to get a new coat and shoes for "church". I hated shopping then and still do today. I have never outgrown my attitude toward shopping. It was abuse then and still is today.
Maybe that's why the clothes closet I share with my wife is different. Honestly, our closet is as big as my room was as a kid! Over one half of it is filled with clothes, shoes, pants, shoes, dresses, shoes, tops, shoes, a few sweaters but mostly shoes (did I mention shoes?). Guess who uses over half of the closet and often stands there and says, "I don't have anything to wear!"?
One quarter of the closet has 3 pairs of jeans, a dozen dress shirts, a dozen pull over short sleeve shirts, maybe 8 or 9 pairs of dress pants, one suit, a few ties, and 3 pair of nice dress shoes. It has a few other odds and ends (sweat pants, shorts, jeans with no seat in them, and a pair of boots). This is my side of the closet. My counter part bothers me when she continually says "You need to buy some new shirts." "Why? I have enough to wear one a day for two weeks."
Why is their a big difference in the way clothes are purchased and worn by men and women? Could it be I see clothes as performing a function. I like my clothes to cover my body so I don't embarrass others. Sometimes what I wear embarrasses my family but I think most men purchase clothes to hide the parts of their bodies that are out of shape, keep them warm or cool, wear to the office or outside to get dirty in. Pretty simple really. Clothes are purchased to perform a function.
Women on the other hand purchase clothes as an extension of who they are. She's looking for something that will accentuate who she is, who she wants to be, and possibly change the way others see her. My wife's desire to purchase clothes makes her proud of who she is and accentuate the beautiful woman she really is (maybe that's why women are so flustered when they see other women with the same 'outfit' on?). She loves who she is and wears clothes to accentuate her self image.
Not to over simplify but managers are like men and their clothes. They often see their role as a function. They spend their time organizing, planning, controlling people, budgets, and problem solving. No real reason to change anything it's perfect the way it has been and is. Besides, if you change it means you have to do something different.
On the other hand leadership is like women and their clothes. Being a leader is an extension of who they are. They are cognizant of who they are, the impact they have on others, inspirational with their desire to move forward and not be satisfied with the past or even present state of affairs. Some leaders, like some women in fashion, have even developed a new culture where leadership truly is the sine qua non.
In my work some people can't make the transition from manager to leader. They are too much into control and micromanaging to understand what it means to let go, think strategically, develop others, and not be satisfied with status quo. Managers have their place. Leaders have their place. Don't get them confused.
What do you think?
Tue, April 6, 2010
by Ron Beasley