The top 7 things every woman in leadership needs to know.
Feeling lost with how to navigate and succeed in the corporate setting as an effective leader is something that most women are familiar with.
Yet while leadership skills are essential for anyone in a management position, there are specific challenges and expectations female leaders face in their leadership roles.
Whether you’re an aspiring leader or a seasoned executive wanting to discover new perspectives, this blog offers a reminder of what you need to feel confident in your leadership abilities.
It also aims to empower and inspire you to realise you can achieve all your desired leadership goals.
7 ways to help you achieve your leadership goals
1. Remember that leadership isn't about being liked.
Being liked may help. Let’s face it, no one wants to be disliked. Yet, as a leader you’re the one having the difficult conversations and making the tough decisions.
It also doesn’t help that women are expected to be nurturing, supportive and likeable, most of the time. You can be those things too without being a pushover.
However, to be an effective leader, you’ll sometimes be the one that’s holding people accountable. It can be uncomfortable but it’s pretty pivotal when it comes to achieving results.
Prepare for how you may handle it when you are put in more difficult or confrontational positions or scenarios.
2. Find your authentic leadership style.
There's no “one-size-fits-all” approach to leadership. Instead, I’ve found that one of the biggest strengths of successful female leaders is that they find their own leadership style.
The challenge is discovering what that looks like for you.
You might be a natural communicator.
You might thrive by being more of a pioneer.
Or, you may prefer to be more analytical or strategic.
Seeing yourself as a leader and identifying those strengths and skills that will feed in to defining your leadership style can be difficult, in itself. Read more about why women struggle to see themselves as leaders here.
It's important to find a style that feels authentic to you so that you’re not pretending to be something you’re not. In addition, you’ll also be modelling a way of leadership that plays to your strengths.
3. Invest in your development.
Leadership, like most things, is more of a journey, rather than an ultimate destination…or a marathon, rather than a sprint.
All of your experiences are a way for you to learn, whether that’s from success or failure.
That’s why investing in your personal and professional development helps you to stretch and grow, both personally and professionally.
That could mean you attend conferences to both learn and network, undertake relevant courses or training programmes, or working with a leadership coach and mentor.
Any investment you make will help you better handle the challenges of leadership and inspire others to reach their potential.
4. Prioritise self-care.
When you are juggling lots of responsibilities, both at work and at home, it can be all too easy to put your own needs last. However, we all know that can lead to burnout and exhaustion.
I’ve been there and it’s really not fun!
Therefore, however difficult it feels to find the time, you have to prioritise your self-care to be able to maintain your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
And it needn’t always be something big, like a spa day. Taking breaks throughout the day, practising mindfulness and engaging in hobbies that make you happy are also great self-care strategies.
5. Build a support network.
You can often feel like you’re on your own when you’re in a leadership role. It can be isolating at times, especially for women in senior positions.
Having a support network to lean on is helpful and it can also provide support, guidance and opportunities for growth and advancement.
A support network can come from different areas of your life.
Take a moment to consider who you have ‘in your corner’. For you, it may include your colleagues, mentors, friends, or family members – anyone who you trust, who provides you with guidance, support, and encouragement.
Start by reaching out to individuals within your organisation or industry who you admire and respect and see if they’d be willing to discuss their career path, their leadership experiences and to share any advice for success.
6. Be confident in your abilities.
Confidence is key when it comes to leading a team, making difficult decisions and navigating challenging situations. As a woman in a leadership role, it's crucial to believe in yourself and your abilities.
Unfortunately, in society today, women are more commonly encouraged to be modest and self-effacing, which leads to a lack of confidence in their own abilities.
One effective way of overcoming this is to take stock of your accomplishments, remind yourself of your strengths and seek out feedback from trusted colleagues and mentors to understand and appreciate how others perceive your abilities.
You might be surprised with the positive acknowledgement you receive.
7. Advocate for yourself and others.
Women in leadership positions often face challenges such as bias and discrimination. It's important to be aware and to speak up if you feel you're being treated unfairly or if you witness others being discriminated against.
Demonstrating you’re an ally for other women through your behaviours and role-modelling creates a sense of connection and community which can be mutually supportive and empowering.
Women in leadership roles and positions may face unique challenges, but they have the power and mindset to thrive and succeed in whatever way they desire. In my view, female leaders are integral contributors and creators of positive change in the workplace.
Reaching your leadership goals
What you can do next
Perhaps, you face unique challenges as a female leader in a male dominated world and want to step into your next level of leadership.
Maybe, you want to break barriers, embrace your strengths, overcome challenges and cultivate a network of support.
Wouldn’t this be more effective and a little easier with support from an experienced guide?
If you are driven and ambitious and ready to embark on a transformative journey to unlock your leadership potential and pave the way for extraordinary success, then get in touch and ask me about my 1:1 Next Level Leadership Transformation Coaching Programme.
More often than not, women are leading already and don’t realise how capable they already are.
I love to show them all of the skills and leadership qualities they have, so that they can embrace their own authentic, effective leadership style.
Let’s work together to help you achieve your leadership goals.