Here’s what’s so refreshing about Kadi Cole, often when the subject of female v. male leadership comes up, people tend to move into entrenched theological positions or stereotypes. Kadi doesn’t even come close to that.

In this interview, Kadi shares cultural assumptions that hurt both men and women in leadership, talks about how to leverage the gifting of women in leadership and offers some new rules about how men and women can work together in healthier ways than ever before in a highly charged culture.

Welcome to Episode 253 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Guest Links | Ministry Chick Facebook GroupDeveloping Female Leaders

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Young Leaders, Deepfakes and 7 Things I Learned at SXSW about How the World is Changing (Again…) by Carey Nieuwhof

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3 Insights from Kadi

1. Theology aside, most upcoming female leaders do not receive the same development or opportunities as upcoming male leaders

Often times, in both egalitarian or complementarian churches, when we want to develop a female leader we give her a role or title that we would never give a man. Whether it is making her an assistant to the lead pastor, or creating a made up title for a role that would have the pastoral title if it were a man, we have a tendency to treat potential female leaders differently than upcoming male leaders.

In her book, Kadi talks about a few internal factors that make up a “sticky floor” that hold female leaders back from jumping up into new roles. Those factors include an internal perfectionism that makes women less likely to apply for a role they have never done before, a tendency for women to wait for someone to notice their achievements, and a few other internal struggles that are mostly unique to women.

2. When hiring female leaders, look for the woman leading in the community

As church leaders, we often look at hiring the women who are closest to us, like a pastor or elders wife that has volunteered at the church for 20 years. They are probably great people, but they might not be leaders. If you’re looking for leaders, they are probably not hiding in the shadows and afraid to talk. They are running companies, they’re lawyers, they’re running the school board, they’re principles, they’re out doing great leadership.

Often times, these female leaders are out leading in the corporate world because they aren’t allowed to lead in the church.

3. As leaders, we need to be intentional about creating a safe and healthy workplace culture between men and women

Our society has lost its ability to navigate and manage relationships very well. And the sexual revolution along with the breakdown of the family is a part of that. One of the things Kadi talks about in the book is our need, especially as spiritual leaders, to be re-educating our leadership, our teams, and our churches, about how relationships can work and how God sets them up.

The Billy Graham rule was great for many many years, but our culture is moving beyond it where now the Billy Graham rule might be too relaxed. It’s not just about not sleeping with your coworker, pinning some girl down at the office, or thinking some really horrible statement. It’s about stewarding our relationships with integrity the way God intended.

Quotes from Episode 253

For women leaders, it’s not all closed doors. It is just more doors that you have to open yourself. @kadicole Click To Tweet

How much better and more trustworthy could our ministries be if we actually worked on integrity with women, not just NOT MEETING with women. @kadicole Click To Tweet

Perfectionism is a symptom of insecurity. @kadicole Click To Tweet

We want to recruit humble leaders, but we want to recruit confident and honest leaders, too. @kadicole Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 253

Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?

Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.

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  • You become a better leader, because you’re doing what you do best when you’re at your best
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These principles will free you to thrive in every area of your life.   

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Next Episode: Haydn Shaw

Talk to young leaders, and they’ll express frustration with their bosses. Talk to an older leader, and they’ll roll their eyes at some of the shortcomings of the next generation. How do you lead and manage so generations can work and serve together optimally? Generational expert Haydn Shaw comes back on the podcast and shares some of the insights and tips he uses when coaching some of the world’s top companies.

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 254.

CNLP 253: Kadi Cole on The New Rules for Men and Women in the Workplace and Creating A Culture that Leverages Female Leaders…Regardless of Your Theology


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    This was one of the most powerful and relevant podcasts I’ve ever heard! Thank you for sharing Kadi’s thoughts with us!

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