Nurturing Personal Leadership Skills in Men: The Boardroom Versus Personal Sphere

by Rabbi Noam Raucher, MA.ed

In the realm of leadership, men often find themselves navigating between two distinct arenas: the boardroom and their personal lives. While traditional leadership skills may be honed within the confines of corporate settings, there’s an increasing recognition of the need for men to cultivate personal leadership skills, which extend beyond professional spheres into their interpersonal relationships and personal development.

The Boardroom: Fostering Professional Leadership

In the corporate world, leadership is often associated with strategic decision-making, goal orientation, and effective team management. Here, men are groomed to excel in areas such as:

  1. Visionary Thinking: Crafting long-term strategies and visions for organizational growth.
  2. Decision Making: Making tough decisions under pressure, often with limited information.
  3. Team Management: Motivating and guiding teams towards shared objectives.
  4. Communication Skills: Articulating ideas clearly and persuasively to diverse stakeholders.

These skills are vital for navigating the complexities of modern business environments. However, they primarily focus on external objectives and outcomes, sometimes neglecting the importance of internal growth and interpersonal dynamics.

Personal Leadership: The Missing Piece

Personal leadership, on the other hand, delves into the realm of self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and authentic connection. It involves:

  1. Self-Awareness: Understanding one’s strengths, weaknesses, values, and motivations.
  2. Emotional Intelligence: Navigating and managing emotions, both in oneself and in others.
  3. Relationship Building: Cultivating meaningful connections based on trust, empathy, and mutual respect.
  4. Personal Growth: Continuously evolving and learning from experiences to become the best version of oneself.

While these skills are equally crucial for success, they are often overlooked or undervalued in traditional leadership development programs. Yet, they play a fundamental role in fostering healthy relationships, maintaining work-life balance, and achieving overall well-being.

Bridging the Gap: The Role of Men’s Communities

Recognizing the importance of personal leadership skills, there’s a growing movement towards establishing men’s communities and organizations that offer mentorship opportunities and structures for personal growth. These communities provide:

  1. Safe Spaces: Environments where men can express vulnerability, share experiences, and seek support without fear of judgment.
  2. Mentorship: Guidance from seasoned leaders who can offer insights, advice, and encouragement based on their own journeys.
  3. Accountability: Structures and systems to help men set goals, track progress, and stay committed to their personal development.
  4. Peer Support: Camaraderie and solidarity among peers facing similar challenges, fostering a sense of belonging and mutual empowerment.

By actively participating in such communities, men can complement their boardroom leadership skills with a deeper understanding of themselves and others. This holistic approach not only enhances their effectiveness as leaders but also enriches their lives on a personal level.

It’s fair to say that boardroom skills are the predominant form of leadership that boys and young men are taught as they grow. Student leadership positions at every level of school present a hierarchical and emotion-less structure for building trust and inspiring others- the root of relationship building. Unfortunately, as men, that becomes our frame of reference for relationships outside of the boardroom as well. But strengthening our personal leadership skills can not only enhance our relationships in our own lives, but in the experiences we have with people in the boardroom as well. Understanding ourselves is how we come to understand others, support and work with them to build something amazing together. 

The definition of leadership is expanding to encompass not only professional achievements but also personal growth and interpersonal dynamics. For men, striking a balance between boardroom leadership skills and personal leadership skills is essential for holistic success and fulfillment. By actively engaging in men’s communities and organizations that prioritize personal development, men can cultivate the multifaceted leadership capabilities needed to thrive in all aspects of life.