The Important Role Women Play in Leadership
Updated: Jun 6, 2022
Leadership isn’t just about leading others and coming up with ideas and making decisions in times of crisis, though those are definitely important parts of the job. Leadership can also be about inspiring others to see their own potential, helping them become more of who they’re meant to be. As women step into leadership roles on both personal and professional levels, it’s essential that they understand the importance of valuing their feminine leadership traits in addition to the masculine ones that have traditionally been valued more highly.
What is Leadership?
Leadership is a process of influence, which maximises the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal - Kevin Kruse, author of Great Leaders Have No Rules, CEO of LEADx
Effective leadership involves both having and exhibiting character traits such as: honesty, integrity, compassion, humility and discipline. These traits enable leaders to set goals that are in line with their values and purpose-driven development. Leaders who possess these values also have an impact on their employees which results in achieving business success. This success can be achieved through three main areas: personal development (which leads to professional growth), teamwork and contribution to society or community involvement. Lead yourself, lead others, lead organisations and communities.
Leadership development begins with developing a vision for your life; you should know what you want out of life before you can lead others towards a common goal. You must define your role as a leader and understand what it means to take responsibility for yourself, your team members and any clients or customers involved in your work.
Why is important women become Leaders and why is becoming a Leader important for women?
It’s beautiful and essential that women step into leadership roles because leadership has been historically dominated by men. Leading organisations, communities, society mainly with masculine traits such as logic, focus and goal drive, strength has steered humanity on a path with remarkable results, some unthinkable 200 years ago. Yet, looking at our world today, it is obvious we have missed some important aspects - We can connect instantly to friends and family across the globe, and we feel so disconnected. We have access to more information than ever at our fingertips and we still can’t figure out why we feel insecure. We have more devices to make our lives and work easier and yet we are amidst a burnout epidemic. We are able to fly out in space, and we still have children starving here, on Earth. We are able to visit remote places anywhere we chose and admire the beauty of this planet and yet haven’t learnt to care enough about it.
More than ever traits associated with women, such as nurturing, caring, intuitive, generous, collaborative and receptive are necessary, if we want our path to go further - to face adversity and build resilience, to care about relationships just as much as we care about results, to embrace diversity not because it is politically correct but because this expands our mind and hearts and leads to innovation, to raise our awareness about the consequences of our actions considering all the stake holders, even the not so obvious ones.
These traits make women stand out in leadership roles because they fill up a gap that everybody can benefit from. Moreover it is these very traits that lead them to assume these roles.
They can help women become great leaders, but they aren't enough. For example, look at Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg who has written two books focused on gender equality in business (Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead and Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience). She advises young women to lean in rather than back down from challenges.
How can we get better at Leading?
There is no single way to answer it, but when we look to women—especially women in leadership roles—we find a set of feminine values that hold special insight. These values help us ask better questions, develop and learn forward, engage in courageous curiosity, focus on presence and emotional intelligence and use attention as a tool for success.
Where can I learn more about being a Leader?
Becoming a better leader is always a possibility, whether you’re just starting out or are an experienced professional. You might be looking to become a better spouse or a better parent.
Leadership is a skill that can be practiced and developed over time, no matter what your role in life. Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent or a CEO, being a leader means making decisions that affect others and helping to guide your community toward positive outcomes. You can learn how to be a leader in your life - at home, at work and even in your relationships with life partners, friends and family members - and in your career.
There are several resources available to help hone your leadership skills.
Seek mentorship from those who have had success in the area you wish to excel - work or personal life - and make time in your schedule to reflect on how you can improve both yourself and others around you.
Spend some time learning about other successful leaders; it might be helpful to consider what made them great, what their lives were like and how they overcame challenges along their journey. Try finding mentors in person if possible—there’s nothing quite like talking with someone face-to-face.
How to develop leadership?
Identify your Values: Start by identifying your values. Think deeply about what really matters to you personally and professionally such as social justice, work / life balance or independence.
Define your Vision: Decide where you want to go in life and define what kind of future world you want to create - such as one that is sustainable.
Take Action: Put your plan into action by setting goals that align with your values and vision.
What makes a great Leader?
Strong Leaders embrace diversity: Diversity drives innovation, but many people remain hesitant to embrace change. To become a strong leader, learn to embrace diversity at all levels within your organisation and challenge yourself and others to think differently.
Always do the right thing: As more businesses come under scrutiny for their actions, consumers will begin to look for companies that do things right. Companies that do things right are led by, you guessed it - people that do the right things, over and over. Do that in every aspect of your life - your children will grow to do the right thing, people you influence knowingly or not will model this also.
Use Mentors, Coaches & Peers: Find a mentor, coach or peer group to share ideas and receive guidance. You can also join groups focused on personal development to expand your network of peers and learn from others in similar situations. When seeking advice, ask questions that allow people to teach you something new rather than simply confirming what you already know.
Reflect on what you have learned: Make time each day for reflection so that you don’t forget any lessons learned during meetings or events throughout your day.
Build relationships that transform lives: For women working in male-dominated industries, building relationships with colleagues may be difficult because men may feel threatened by our successes or overlook perspectives that come more natural to us. Remember the feminine traits I mentioned earlier? Or they simply could hold different values than us - this is when we need to walk the talk of diversity. Nurturing good relationships and developing effective communication skills can lead to advancing your career and opportunities for growth and greater impact. More importantly, the true value of good relationships and effective conversations leads to a mind decluttered of rumination and a sense of ease - As within, so without.
Focus on your strengths: Instead of trying to fix weaknesses, focus on your strengths and use them to build upon your leadership skills.
Lead by example: Practice what you preach by demonstrating your leadership skills through your actions.
We need women leaders to step up and create positive, inclusive paths forward. With the world changing rapidly, it’s more important than ever that we break down barriers and create opportunities for women to lead and to be their best self while leading. As we increase the number of women in leadership roles, we will create a more inclusive workforce where everyone feels empowered to bring their authentic selves to work—and feel heard. This contribution is essential to creating better lives for us as human beings, for future generations and for our planet.
The biggest obstacle standing in our way is often ourselves. To start on your path toward being an exceptional leader who creates change and improves lives, take some time to reflect on what you can do today to become a better leader: What values do you live by? What motivates you? How can you better serve those around you? How can you share your strengths with others? And how can you learn from others’ strengths as well?