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Do a search on the web and you'll find all sorts of criteria for what makes an effective leader. People can't even seem to agree on the definition of leadership. As a result, theories abound. But what you will have a harder time finding are those who claim that gender makes a difference in leadership. Perhaps that's because it's considered a political correctness taboo. Or perhaps it's because gender doesn't make a difference.

There are many women in leadership positions: women in business, women in politics, and the like. But there are also many complaints that, even with reverse discrimination (aka affirmative action or compensatory justice), women aren't in enough leadership positions. How many is enough? There doesn't seem to be any certain answer. To get to a valid answer, we first have to ask the more important question: why?

Assume for a moment that women held all, or most all, of the leadership positions in the world. Take any component of society - business, politics, family, science, technology, medicine, culture, education, sports, entertainment, religion, etc. - what do you think the world would be like? What role does gender play in leadership, or doesn't it matter? Why is it important that there be more women in leadership positions?

Lynn Tilton doesn't think women should have to act like men to be successful in business. "I think women too often give up their identity in a man's world and believe they'll only be successful if they're close to what men are or what men expect them to be," she says at a New Haven coffee shop, spearing her latte with a straw. Tilton, 51, is the founder and CEO of ­Patriarch Partners, a private-equity firm that specializes in the takeover of distressed manufacturers of a decidedly masculine nature: fire-truck-maker American LaFrance, MD helicopters, automotive company Dura. "I don't want to feel like I have to fit into a male mode to be this sort of successful industrialist," she continues. "I take pride in the fact that I can be all woman in a man's world. And," she adds, lowering her already deep Mae West voice another octave, "as you may have noticed, I am all woman."

...Her brand of femininity is so over-the-top, so cartoonish, it's as if she were playing a part, the Wonder Woman of Wall Street. But this is pretty much how she sees herself: an Ayn Rand heroine in six-inch heels who has men stay the night, then eats them for breakfast. "I'll be your girlfriend," she's told clients, "but I won't be your bitch."

"My job is to make men better men," Tilton often says, and that includes teaching lessons to the ones who try to hold her back...

"Women aren't inspired by money," she says. "I think we're more sensitive. This is not just a business to me; it's people's lives. I came to create light in the world of darkness." Patriarch's work with distressed companies, she says, is "sort of like when someone takes a homeless person off the street and has to put them back into the workforce."

...She pops her eyes open. "The truth is, I believe that there will very well be violence in the streets in America," she says. "It's my great fear. And I think the only thing we can do to stop it is by creating employment. Social unrest comes from people who can't take care of themselves. If we become a populace of the permanently unemployed, and Wall Street keeps going up, and multinational corporations keep making money, but Americans are unable to work and take care of their families, there is going to be social unrest." She closes her eyes as the makeup artist fixes a line of false eyelashes. "I believe I have been chosen for this moment," she says, "where I can make a difference."

Tilton's goal is "to be part of the intelligentsia. An enlightened thinker. One of the people who are called together to think through economic issues for America. You know, like how George Soros is called on issues."

...In the classroom at Yale, Tilton outlined the four qualities of a warrior, as described by Castaneda. "Cunning is one," she said. "Not deceit, but the ability to move people in a direction. The second is sweetness. The third is patience, which was hard for me to learn. But the hardest one for me to learn was ruthlessness. Because that word sounds mean. But that's not what it is. Ruthlessness is the ability to step over someone you care about, someone who has been good to you, for the greater good."

...Tilton explains her tactics as good management. "I hug people when they walk into the room, I smack the crap out of them when we're in there, and I hug them on the way out," she told me in February. "You have to have that warmth and that fierceness."

What Does It Take for a Female Tycoon to Get Noticed Around Here? Lynn Tilton is one of the wealthiest financiers on Wall Street. She's also on a spiritual journey to save America's manufacturing base. But she's having trouble getting the respect she believes she deserves.


Original posting by Braincrave Second Life staff on Apr 13, 2011 at http://www.braincrave.com/viewblog.php?id=528

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