A while ago, I spoke in front of 350 of the leading women in European business. I was honored and humbled to speak in front of such a well-respected audience of business leaders. Even more, I very much looked forward to hearing the many discussions about the future of leadership and the challenges in business today.

I did receive and experience the kind of lively, open discussions I had hoped for. Much of the rich dialogue was fueled by women business leaders who represented different industries. From attending these discussions, I, in a short amount of time, arrived at one key observation. Their discussions seemed much more intense than what I’m used to seeing at male-dominated management summits. Also, at this conference in Frankfurt, many of the female leaders stated countless situations in which they felt they had to work harder than the men around them for the same benefits. What I felt these women were expressing is best captured in the words of Madeline Albright:

“I have said this many times, that there seems to be enough room in the world for mediocre men, but not for mediocre women, and we really have to work very, very hard.“ – Madeline Albright

She may be right. In what used to be a male dominated world, women still have to learn to work within a business model and work environment that was created by men.

Despite the history of male domination, women have made great strides in integrating themselves into the mainstream and corporate culture. Simultaneously, they are beginning to use their influence and status to take over everything. How is this possible? Well, I’d like to elaborate upon this and explain some of the important factors. Foremost, women’s approach to leadership requires the death of the ego and self-proclaimed important people. There inherently, among women, is more of a commitment to helping other members of the team grow.



What makes modern women good leaders is that they more often than not (very frequently) possess the ability to connect people together and look for synergies. This is very important because power evolves from building relationships and synergies. Every real relationship has mutual benefits, and people today are connected in totally new and different ways. Business success requires tools, partners and networks.

Sports is a great analogy of connection and synergy because teamwork and collaboration is the foundation of any successful organization or team. Teams must work together to reach goals and achieve something that no single person can do alone. Teams cheer for and support each other. They share their successes, and the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. By synergizing, connecting, and building relationships, we can capitalize on ideas, creativity and in the long run, every member of the team will blossom and connect on a deeper level.

Teamwork is also about co-creation and about letting go, not spending time on problems from the past. Instead of using the same models while expecting different results, it’s about working together to find new solutions and new models that produce better outcomes. This is what anchors and drive teams and organizations – forward progress. Thus, it is the challenge of every leader of an organization to find great benefit in working within the mindset of your team and listening to each team member.



In today’s world, the value of networks have never been more important. Social media activities are symbolic of how networking has changed, and how businesses are getting attention. As a result, we are required to communicate and connect in totally new ways. Social media is about mastering the digital world and drawing upon the new possibilities of connecting and building relationships that technology has given us. Fortunately, the cost of putting ideas up on Facebook and/or YouTube is zero, and we are free to exploit that potential using “sharing” and “liking.”

We are now in a mode of sharing knowledge and sharing recognition. While men seem to have been in a fight mode, trying to push their own ego onto someone else, women are engaging in dialogue with each other. It’s been said that women are better at building and keeping friendships and men have been better at building networks. But now, with new technologies, this is changing. Even though jealousy and envy does exist in some instances with women, overall, the values and the framework of their relationships are different.

Today, women are cheering for each other in social channels. I believe they have always been supporting each other, but it has not been in the public eye. Now, in the world of social media, their mutual support is more obvious. In social channels today, you see women helping women and cheering for each other. Thus, among women it is common to see them exemplify the values of a true leader as stated in the words of Jack Welch: “You`ve got to get a kick out of seeing other people grow.”

Women, overall, seem to have an easier time than men letting go and supporting others. When the support is sincere, the result of helping and cheering each other on is that society benefits as a whole. Symbolic to this was my latest visit at the local fitness studio. All around me I noticed women doing something on their smartphones (I have to admit I find it rather disturbing that everyone needs their phone while going to the gym, but it might just be a sign of me getting older). Initially, I thought they were looking for a song to listen to. So, I thought out loud to myself, “Women and technical stuff. Don`t they know how to make a playlist?”

It, however, turned out that I was totally wrong in my observation when I finally realized that what these women were doing was communicating. While working on the cross-trainer, they were also using that time to continuously chat and communicate on facebook, twitter, whatsapp & co. So, in my estimation, women today have become the new upper-class because they are socially connected. Men, on the other hand, are being left behind because they continue to focus on building their biceps rather than their social network.



I believe there is a conscious revolution and some kind of paradigm change happening. Today, we place more importance on openness and sharing knowledge. Gone are the days of the self-proclaimed “important people.” As a leader, you no longer can sit in your corner office, have your own elevator, and think of yourself as a sovereign leader without soliciting the input of your team members.

To let go of power is difficult, but it is also extremely beneficial for everyone. Much of the resistance or challenge is that men tend to be more ego driven, and do not place as much importance on mutual benefits as women do. This can be seen throughout history. Men, for thousands of years, have lived by the belief that you are either tough or soft or strong or weak. Subsequently, that is the mindset we established in our corporate culture, and that is how we used to look for leaders. In a command-and-control hierarchical world, this is how leadership used to work. People would settle for a “win – lose” result with a top-down mentality. However, in the long run, this turns into a lose-lose scenario because the workers at the bottom suffer. This eventually results in their producing less.

At the same time, the complexity in today’s society has forced us to let go of the ego and think in terms of “WE.” Historically, due to a lack of ways to measure progress, including happiness-factors and how we together accomplish things, we tried to logically place achievements into structual thinking. Often that meant mapping measures of achievement into money or salaries. This often was wasteful because it had no real merit (or justification). But, even here, due to the amazing influence of the increasing number of women business leaders, we are seeing a switch. Many organization are reducing their max salaries.

While we’re seeing a strong change in this field, there is still a big gender gap. Yet, there is hope. By looking to the cities and the younger generation, you can see where we‘re heading. Over the last 10 years for example, women between the ages of 20 and 30 have been out-earning men in New-York. I believe that this is a clear indication that we’re headed for the “death of the ego-centric driven management world“ primarily because women of this generation will refuse to settle for less. Because of their work performance and advocacy for change, it eventually will become more equal. We will see more women “at the top.“



Another thing we see today is that just as information is more integrated, the borders between the professional and the private are almost gone. While work is a large part of our lives, we need to see both “work” and “life” as a whole – a “life-life-balance.” This is another critical area where women have an advantage. They have always needed to handle life as a whole, juggling family, and work obligation. They, then, more frequently provide an example of how to achieve and maintain “life-life balance.”

Technology is now an integral part of our lives. We work and live different and create our lives as a whole. The young people of today don’t just look for a job, they create new opportunities in their lives. More and more women, using the power of technology to their advantage, are doing the same.

Confident women, at peace with their own individual victories, who are socially connected and armed with education, are marching in all areas – within all cities and in all occupations. This most likely will benefit our society. But more than anything, it will challenge the family as we used to define it.

We are already seeing many signs of this all over the world as it is not a local phenomenon. From Tokyo to Bangalore, Singapore to New York and Stockholm to Taipei, this is our new urban world. This is clearly becoming more and more of a woman`s world. But, still hopefully, a boy or a man will carve out a meaningful existence within it..