You are the architect of your life. What are you building? How high do you want to go?
An old commercial used to say, “You’ve come a long way, baby!” Women certainly have come a long way. We are demonstrating outstanding leadership qualities, no matter what level of education we have obtained. Let’s explore how to be the best leaders possible, whether in the corporate world, at school, with a professional organization or church ministry.
Good female leaders have the ability to both lead and follow. They are visionaries who can influence individuals to “do things”. They have a high sense of integrity and use wisdom in their decision making. Leaders are not always popular but will act for the greater good, and they hold their ground when necessary. Leadership also means being humble enough to make corrections if they find a better solution.
Critical leadership characteristics include the ability to stay focused on the final outcome while giving support to co-workers. It incorporates the heart as well as the head in decision making and problem solving. Leaders see themselves as resources, not just “bosses.”
What is Leadership? It is a “process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others to accomplish a common task “. A competent leader demonstrates power by her ability to create, inspire, motivate and transform. Not all leaders are in actual designated “leadership positions.” We all have the opportunity to be an effective leader every day, in whatever capacity the day calls for, whether at home or with those who have a broad influence in our world.
Feminine Power: At times, women believe they must develop the characteristics that work for men if they want to operate in a leadership position. Although we can learn valuable lessons from the male perspective, we were not meant to behave like men. Women have a distinctive way of processing information, motivating and multi-tasking all at the same time. We can provide a congenial atmosphere where employees feel appreciated and listened to. This is an important key to loyalty. We do not need to forsake our femininity for ambition. We can be successful in our own right, walking in the flow of our God-given talents.
The male approach is more often defined as someone who is willing to take charge, is competitive, and is able to understand and play company politics. Female attributes include intuition, a care/share attitude, open communications, and establishing and maintaining relationships with others. These are important leadership strengths that will benefit everyone. Female intuition is an asset that enhances one’s ability to sense approaching problems and opportunities. This does not mean forsaking the need to take charge or compete for business, as those traits are very important. However, work from your feminine leadership side.
Femininity in the workplace used to be associated with positions such as secretaries, clerks and nurses, stereotypes with ranks and titles that men did not consider as leadership positions. Nowadays, a professional administrative assistant is responsible for many aspects of the company’s success. Female characteristics were linked to clothing, emotions, concern about hair, makeup and fingernails, and were confused with the woman’s ability to perform in leadership roles. Getting married and having children was also added to “feminine performance factors”. Oftentimes, women still play down their femininity to avoid these misconceptions, but this is not necessary or productive.
Women are still underrepresented in leadership roles, even when they began their careers with the same degree of education, intelligence and commitment as their male colleagues. Women often find it necessary to conform in one way or another to the male mold. There is power in your genes to move up in the corporate ranks without losing your authentic self.
Stay tuned for more posts on this subject!