I’m feeling deliciously inspired this morning…and it’s all due to #LeadershipChat. 

I must admit, I had hoped that by teaming with Steve Woodruff to create #LeadershipChat – a new, weekly opportunity for leaders across the globe to get together via Twitter and talk about the challenges and excitement surrounding our leadership roles – that collectively we would make each other better. 

That we would challenge each other to think differently. To think bigger. 

You see, I adore big, bold ideas…

What I hadn’t expected was that our conversations would “go deep” so early on in the development of our little community.  The leaders who have been attending #LeadershipChat these past two weeks have pulled open their kimonos in such a refreshing way – and that alone tells me there is a spirit of trust among us already.  I’ve been genuinely moved by their insights, convictions and deep wisdom.

The discussion Tuesday night on whether men or women make better leaders based on the article, “Girls Rule” by Michael K. Ozanian at Forbes.com was brutally honest yet encouragingly respectful.  Which leads me to the first main takeaway of the night…

1. Emotional intelligence and emotional maturity as critical components of leadership

As expected, the overwhelming agreement was that gender is not the determining factor. 

What was fascinating to me was that the ideas of emotional intelligence and maturity as critical leadership components, and even the idea of emotional strengths, were raised and largely embraced by men, with women supporting this strongly. 

Why was I surprised by this? Because of the word, “emotional” and the willingness of men who I see as representing the strong, powerful, confident stereotype of masculinity to embrace it…

JimJosephExp: Do you think these female execs on the list performed better because they motivated their teams (emotionally) better?

DavidMcGraw: the gender argument is too generic. I think the emotional intelligence of the person in a leadership role is the x-factor

Robert_Rose:@swoodruff – without a doubt [best leader I worked for was] Female – and it was emotional intelligence as critical piece cc:@davidmcgraw

Robert_Rose: @swoodruff definitions abound… http://bit.ly/anZCG (Wikipedia) But to me it’s courage to use emotions for greater wisdom…

Me: @LouImbriano @livepath @swoodruff @Robert_Rose Sounds like UR all saying “emotional intelligence/maturity” is the key

Robert_Rose: @lisapetrilli – yes – agree…. being unafraid to use emotion as one of the tools in leadership

@swoodruff: @LisaPetrilli Frankly, I think “life maturity” is a huge piece of leadership.

2. The importance of empowering others

In my original blog post about this topic I made the comment, “in my experience male leaders have a much harder time giving power to others – empowering others – to make something happen in the way they deem best.  I think men have a deep rooted fear that by empowering others they are giving away their own power, which I believe could not be further from the truth.”

So I asked about it during #LeadershipChat: I’m really curious your thoughts on this: Is empowering others a feminine leadership trait?

And the insights coupled with conviction I received back were…

Note_to_CMO: @LisaPetrilli No, dont think empowering others is male/female. Its mentoring, leading.

Robert_Rose: @lisapetrilli – I think it’s a feminine energy – but not necessarily a gender specific trait

@swoodruff: @LisaPetrilli I think the commitment to empower others is a matter of wisdom and humility, not gender.

cloudspark: @LisaPetrilli no matter the gender, great leaders cultivate other leaders, not followers

Lincognito: It’s the trait of a good leader. Period.

3. The idea of women “owning it”

During part of the discussion a few of us wandered into the realm of “women becoming entrepreneurial leaders more so than corporate leaders” today and why that might be.  I found this idea striking – for some reason it grabbed me deep in my gut and wouldn’t let go. 

And then came my own personal “a-ha” moment – is it because we can OWN everything about it then? Does entrepreneurship enable us to go beyond just reaping the financial rewards to owning our success hook, line and sinker?  And if so, might that be the catalyst for the trend? So I asked and received back…

jeffthesensei: @LisaPetrilli control over one’s destiny and brand perception is critical

fredmcclimans: @LisaPetrilli @jeffthesensei Ownership def leads to empowerment, but not always leadership.

These ideas really resonated with me – especially the word, “destiny.” Are women more likely to feel that in order to control their destiny they must strike out on their own? And to follow that with Fred’s insight that the feeling of ownership is empowering – but does not always imply leadership – struck me as well.  A few tweets in a brief chat that have really set my brain afire…

4. Advice from men to women and from women to men:

At the end of the chat I asked if the men and women partaking in the chat had advice for each other on how we could learn from each other, work together better and be better leaders.  The advice, in their own words, is priceless…

fredmcclimans: @LisaPetrilli The lesson for both men and women in business is to never judge a leader or a follower by their gender.

JimJosephExp: @LisaPetrilli we should all be individuals and respect each other’s individuality

CASUDI: @LisaPetrilli ADVICE~more collaborative leadership ~ both sides

ckburgess: @LisaPetrilli Both sides need skill-sets of having empathy and understanding

Note_to_CMO: Advice: unsuccessful women execs (in my exp) tried to be “better men” than male sub’s. Ldrship isnt’ a male/female split.

livepath: Most people bring something of value to the table. True leaders create strength balance

jeffthesensei: Advice: Build a set of leadership skills that allows you to be highly adaptive to almost any leadership situation.

delwilliams: @LisaPetrilli I think the work is needed inside. No one can convince you of your value but you.

jolewitz: @LisaPetrilli this is a hard one but to work together it’s all about trust – It will work with some and not with others

LouImbriano: I think the best leaders do not conform to any one school of thought. Leaders don’t climb ladders, they make quantum leaps.

lizbrenner: @LisaPetrilli: Advice? Keep and open mind and leave stereotypes at the door.

JoeCascio: @LisaPetrilli [as I said earlier] “hormonal balance” is a huge plus.

And finally, a compelling insight from @pprothe in a follow-up comment to the chat on my blog:

“I’ve found that women who try to be more ‘male’ in the role – controlling, overbearing, etc. tend to go to far – particularly if they’re competing in a male-dominated environment. But those that embrace who they are and stand on their own strengths are fabulous to work for / with.”

I can’t think of a better note on which to end than to be who you are and stand on your own strengths…

What’s your advice for the other gender on how we can work together better, become better leaders and bring out each others’ strengths?

Don’t miss the next #LeadershipChat on Tuesday evening at 8:00 pm Eastern Time – Steve Woodruff and I hope to see you there!

Author: Lisa Petrilli is a senior level marketing executive with vast experience working with C-level executives, creating business visions, leading teams and implementing Herculean initiatives. She currently works daily with CEOs and CMOs as a consultant to the CEO Connection and to the Marketing Executives Networking Group. She is the creator and Executive Editor of the MENG Blend Blog, a contributing blogger and key advisor to the Content Marketing Institute and a contributing author to MarketingProfs.  Lisa is @LisaPetrilli on Twitter and can be found on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/lisapetrilli.

*This post originally appeared on Lisa’s blog and is reposted with permission.