“Leadership is a series of behaviors rather than a role for heroes” -Margaret Wheatley
Leadership is no longer regarded as a title achieved by employees in overhead management positions. Rather, leadership is found within individual employees, ranging from the CEO to the new hire. Particularly, women in leadership offer a unique skillset to the workforce, thus increasing their voice and their presence in the professional world.
Women in leadership act as role models for other women, young girls, and their male coworkers as women’s presence in the workforce becomes more prominent and expected, rather than unprecedented.
The following are 7 power moves of women in the workforce that enable them to establish their professional presence and create lasting success.
- Women in leadership know how to be a LEADER, not a BOSS.
We all know the story… in elementary school girls who spoke out and stepped up were labeled as ‘bossy’, while boys who spoke out were lauded as leaders.
Ladies, this narrative stops now.
Why not eliminate the word ‘boss’ altogether? Yes, a boss is a managerial position, but a leader is something more; a leader is someone you become.
Powerful women in workforce leadership know how to lead, regardless of the position they hold or job title they are given.
Impactful leaders utilize a tactic called transformational leadership.
Rather than focusing on the stereotypical delegation and transactional leadership of a “boss”, transformational leaders capitalize on motivation, team morale and performance to reach a common vision.
If you think back to an impactful coworker or manager you had, their qualities often encompassed an attitude of mutual respect and teamwork, regardless of their job description.
True leaders lead through inspiration and personal development.
Which seems more impactful to you?
A manager who appears every few hours to drop off a ‘to-do’ list for your day, or someone who actively engages in your workday looking for ways to help and offer additional insight?
Impactful women in leadership understand that true, effective leadership is more about connection and compassion, than it is about delegation and deliverables.
“Leaders are made, not born” –Vince Lombardi
- Women in leadership capitalize on the strengths of others.
Impactful leaders know how to see the best in people. They see the strengths in each of their employees and coworkers, helping each team member reach their potential.
We are all *very* aware of our own weaknesses, so people often need someone to acknowledge and praise their strengths.
It is crucial to know co-workers and employees enough to be familiar with their in-work strengths and out-of-work strengths. An effective woman in leadership will give teams projects that capitalize on employee’s abilities, and gives team members responsibilities that they enjoy and feel they can excel in.
Women in leadership help people succeed by building off traits and talents that already make the team member successful.
“Leadership is not a person or a position. It is a complex moral relationship between people based on trust, obligation, commitment, emotion, and a shared vision of the good.”
– Joanne Ciulla (Author and Educator)
- Powerful women in leadership balance strength and sensitivity.
Individuals spend more time in the workplace than anywhere else when they are working full-time. Today’s corporate world is a high-paced, high-pressure, high-stress environment with deadlines, decisions, and a growing demand for better performance and results.
This means that the environment in which employees work has a significant impact on their professional and personal lives. The culture and environment of a workspace is created by those who are working in it every single day. This can be used as a force for good by powerful women in leadership roles.
We all have had that ‘one’ job where we dreaded going to bed at night because we knew we would have to wake up and go to work in the morning. Or that job where our boss was unapproachable… but it does not have to be that way!
Women in leadership roles have statistically proven to positively enhance the environment of a workplace by knowing how to be strong and sensitive, without being overbearing or a push-over.
The following are a series of questions that you can ask yourself to gauge your balance of strength and sensitivity:
- Do I listen with the intent to truly understand rather than with the intent to respond?
- Do I set high expectations through my example and work ethic?
- Do I take time to learn about my coworkers’ lives outside of the work environment?
- Do I recognize that I do not know the entirety of everyone’s circumstances, and do I try to be empathetic when approaching a problem?
- Do I approach issues or concerns rather than hoping they resolve themselves?
- Do I view my role as an advisor and teammate rather than a referee or delegator?
- Am I an advisor rather than a critic?
While everyone leads in their own unique way, a shining example of a strong yet sensitive woman in leadership is Jacinda Ardern who is currently the Prime Minister of New Zealand.
She led New Zealand through terrorist attacks, the eruption of a volcano, and through the economic crisis and social disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, all while giving birth to her first child…in office. While she was faced with criticism from harsh skeptics, she stood firmly for those who were marginalized and struggling during this time. Her empathy became her strength. She said,
“One of the criticisms I’ve faced over the years is that I’m not aggressive enough or assertive enough or maybe somehow, because I’m empathetic, it means I’m weak. I totally rebel against that. I refuse to believe that you cannot be both compassionate and strong.”
– Jacinda Ardern (Prime Minister of New Zealand)
So, ladies let us all be strong. And empathetic. And compassionate. And bold. Daring. Intelligent. Brave. Loyal.
And most of all, let us be leaders who make a difference in the lives of all those we meet.
- Powerful women in leadership are confident communicators.
I once had a mentor tell me that we cannot connect if we do not clearly and confidently communicate.
Communication fosters an environment of collaboration and innovation as people come together to learn, teach, and improve. Open communication creates innovative solutions to longstanding problems and establishes patterns of teamwork and unity in a workspace.
As a woman in leadership, it is crucial to be confident in our communication. Establishing personal surety in your words and ideas presents them to others as more credible and refined. This confidence can cut through the glass ceiling and enable women in leadership positions to have their voice heard and understood.
Here are some ideas on how to improve your confidence and communication in the workplace:
- Take calculated risks with a plan
- Exceed your job description each day
- Offer to help to others in your department (become their go-to person!)
- Be pro-active in problem solving and looking for opportunities to improve corporate efficiency
- Take the lead when you can
- Recognize obstacles you face and ask for help in overcoming them
- Offer help and accept help freely
- Make your motivation greater than working for a paycheck
As we elevate our voices to be heard in all forms of corporate communication women are more likely to be vocal about their desires in the workplace. The voice and actions of one woman in leadership can inspire other women to do the same.
“The ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have.”
– Padmasree Warrior (CEO & Founder, Fable)
To learn more about how to strengthen your skillset and ability to lead as a woman in leadership click here to learn more about digital marketing!