A quick quiz for you -- which country has: the most women in parliament? The largest number on boards? Drum roll -- Rwanda 63.8 per cent and Norway 40.6 per cent. So it seems that when it comes to leadership, the glass ceiling in the U.S. and U.K. isn't about to be shattered any time soon. But does this really matter? I think it does.
The announcement of Swisscom CEO Carsten Schloter's suicide shook the media earlier this summer, followed by the suicide of Pierre Wauthier, CFO of the Zurich Insurance Group, only a few weeks later. For many people in leading positions, "lonely at the top" is not just a simple cliché, but rather a sad reality. A personal sparring partner can make a crucial difference.
A while ago, I had the opportunity to witness the demonstration of an avalanche airbag. The space created by the airbag can save lives in a situation that would otherwise bear the imminent risk of suffocation. I was immediately aware of the symbolism: Metaphorically speaking, our packed days and weeks are like avalanches, rolling over our heads and burying us underneath them. As in a real avalanche, the key lays in creating space.
Antonio Damasio, (2003, Looking for Spinoza) the renowned neuroscientist, has demonstrated the important role of emotions in decision-making. When we insist on removing emotions from our decisions, we are ignoring the emotional part of our decision-making process. Why do we choose to avoid emotion, especially in a business or professional setting?