My departure from PwC after 28 years was not built on some thought process that was very clearly visible. It was rather a private process, a way of reorganizing my life that helped me to look at myself and start reflecting on myself, which I've never really done before. So, I started to realize that a lot of the stuff I was doing, both as a human being, as a man, and as a leader, wasn't really very morally high, what I would now call it. It wasn't really landing with people, I wasn't really building real relationships with individuals, and that was not the greatest position to be in. So I started to reflect. I started on my own personal development journey. And with on that one, I realized that if I'm really, really honest with myself, my work environment - I either change it from inside or I try to do something from the outside. Inside it wasn't possible anymore. So I left and now I do leadership work for other organizations, but also for PwC.
At that time when I started, if you had asked me about vulnerability I would have not even known what exactly you mean by that question because it would not be on my level of consciousness or awareness. Todday I think I would have made it hard for me had I wanted to do this then, because the top leadership environment is a very self stabilizing environment, so it's self confirming. There's still a lot of males who execute leadership based on power and control. However, it's not a general statement that everyone does it, but it's still seen very often in this environment - a leadership style based on knowing and on being right rather than on learning and curiosity.
What I have felt more often with women than with men is that there is an honest interest in what the other person might be - being interested in rather than trying to be interesting. Again, I think that's maybe the way how I would bring it, and it could be a cliché, but more often men try to be interesting, while more often women are interested in those around them.
The secret to becoming a male ally is more awareness, more consciousness. This needs to become a concept for the male leader that whatever the environment he is in right now, the right thing to do is to support female colleagues to become leaders on that next position.
That requires being inquisitive, having an inquisitive mind, a curious mind. What could I do to help to make this a more equitable place? What could the world become when we meet each other on an eye level?
This is this what I need to create as a male leader. What's the environment needed that we all feel safe and supported to thrive and not just to survive?
Honest conversations need to happen. Conversations in which we both listen to each other and we both try to understand where the other side is coming from because it sounds like it's only on the male side to do something about the situation.
There's a lot of compassion I have also with male leaders because the world has changed heavily for the role of a male in society. It is also quite an exhausting process.
If we would've had this interview 10 years ago it would've been very difficult for me because I would've not fully understood actually where you're coming from. And now I can see so much more of your perspective.
In order to understand each other, we need to start communicating honestly. And also if there's some misunderstanding, just find help and find another way to get through to each other.
Pain and possibility are the parents of transformation. It's great that we are feeling some pain. And if women see a possibility in changing something, that will be their gateway, their portal to actually change something. Find supporting resources in your environment so you don't have to walk this whole way on your own.
Meet Günter during the first leadership retreats he and his team organizes this year: DOWNLOAD LDI BROCHURE HERE.
Register for our February 2024 leadership development and career acceleration program TALKING TO MEN - STRATEGIC STAKEHOLDER MANAGEMENT FOR CAREER GROWTH. The program is a FREE OFFER to the members of our community of practice for outstanding women leaders THE CEO ELEVATION CIRCLE.