How to Be a Successful Woman Leader and Step into Your Power
Understandably, certain qualities and skills are critical to landing a leadership role. Let’s start with leading from where you are, in whatever position. Leadership does not require a title.
To lead, you need critical thinking skills, flexibility, open-mindedness, perseverance, determination, and the ability to motivate and inspire others. Learning to master and leverage those skills and qualities put you in the driver’s seat.
Career development directly correlates to leadership roles. Be sure to check out my blog What is Career Development and Why Is It So Essential for Women? for more information related to this discussion.
How Does Communication and Authenticity Play in How Women Lead?
Communication and listening are two sides of the same coin; both are necessary in effective leadership. One needs to be willing to listen, open to new ideas, and give the space and encouragement for team members to speak up and share ideas.
In addition, you need to be comfortable giving feedback and receiving feedback. Both are essential to achieving growth.
Being authentic is being true to yourself and showing up as who you truly are. It’s not about copying someone else’s leadership style because that’s who you think a leader should be. That makes you an authentic imposter, not authentically you. And you’ll surely fail if you try to be anything other than your true self. Be who YOU are and lead with your skills -- that's how you stand out.
Be unapologetically yourself, express your expectations clearly and lead with confidence in a way that only you can.
Women and Leadership: How Will You Choose to Influence and Lead Your Team?
A leader can bring out the best abilities in their team and motivate them to work together to achieve a shared goal.
You want to inspire and motivate action. You set the vision, bring clarity, and influence others to rally behind it. This requires a positive attitude and encouraging and facilitating positivity among team members.
Your team needs to know you will fight for them and with them to reach the desired outcomes.
A leadership style that gives people autonomy and encourages participation enables team members to feel valued and engaged.
It’s a given that you will face challenges in leadership along the way:
- Negative people that undermine the team
- Handling a variety of personality types and temperaments
- Inheriting an intact team that didn't include you rather than building a team
- Delegating: Matching up the right skills with the work that needs to be done
- Maximizing the talents of all team members
- Dealing with resentment from former peers on the team who want your role and think they can do it better
Are you an introvert or extrovert and does it matter in your leadership style?
There are benefits to leading with calm confidence. “Leading Quietly” by Joseph Badaracco Jr, is an excellent book . The author defines quiet leaders as those that are focused on doing the "right thing" for their organizations, their coworkers, their team, and themselves--but without all the fanfare and showboating. Do not, however, forego recognition for you and your team's accomplishments.
Being a Successful Woman Leader Requires Stepping Fully into Your Power
Being a successful woman in leadership requires unwavering confidence in yourself; go ahead and own it.
The first piece of stepping into your power is accepting that it is okay to be powerful!
And guess what?
In addition to your hard-earned education and experience, you are further bolstered by certain feminine gifts that help make you an excellent leader. Most women have an innate ability to empathize, which is a valuable leadership skill. It’s also important to note that women tend to be quite thoughtful in their approach to many matters. A natural ability to nurture plays a considerable role in motivating others, so embrace it rather than avoid it. Many women possess learning agility and not afraid to research and learn when they do not know how to do something. These can all be considered superpowers and should be fully valued and leveraged in any leadership role.
Resonate your own sense of power, and you’ll be confidence personified!
Successful Women Need Grit and Grace to Navigate Leadership Roles
The most successful women are often the very definition of grit and grace.
Grit is perseverance and the single-minded determination to reach the desired goal -- no matter what. It’s an unrelenting drive and mental toughness that will help you see things through to the finish line. And you need plenty of it to succeed as a leader.
Meanwhile, grace brings dignity, restraint and balance to the grit; you need that too. You want to balance perseverance, the ability to make decisions, defend those decisions, fight for your team, and not back down. Your steely determination must be tempered by grace; otherwise, you risk being called a “you know what.” Warning: you may be called many names simply for standing in your power, but don’t let that stop you.
Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte has been credited for the euphemism “iron fist in a velvet glove.” It points to the need for grit and grace because firmness can and should be buffered with outward softness. The iron fist is strong, while the velvet glove is soft and smooth (and somehow reassuring). Consider the need for both, and you’ll master a more balanced approach to leadership.
An effective leader will coach, mentor, and pull others up with her. She’s driven to elevate her team and is looking for someone she can groom to replace her so she can continue to rise. You cannot do it by yourself.
A Coach is Your Partner in Greatness
Let’s face it; sharing your desire for upward mobility with coworkers is not always in your best interest. Sometimes you need an objective person – a coach who can encourage and accompany you on your career growth journey.
A coach will provide needed objectivity and help you brainstorm about different perspectives and how to handle it. These fresh new insights can be a game-changer in your progress.
You’ll need to do ‘the work’ – as the coach won’t give you the answers, and they will motivate you on your journey forward. A coach is instrumental in helping you to get to the endgame, whatever that is.
Ready to invest in your future by partnering with a coach?
Schedule a FREE 30-minute discovery call that allows you to explore further.
Find your way forward, reach your goals, and get something done with a coach in your corner!
Learn how to be an effective woman leader once and for all.
p.s. As women, we will know we have arrived or have earned equality when we are no longer referred to as a ‘woman leader’ but rather just a respected leader without the qualifying label.
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