Just because my headline calls out to the ladies, it doesn’t mean this isn’t a good read for the men. 🙂 In fact, men, you play a huge role in our lives, whether as a spouse, a friend or a colleague may be. It is not only important to be there, say encouraging your women to be their best possible versions, just as how women have been doing for many years. It is all about creating a balance of good emotions, attitude and positive outcomes.
In our day to day lives, women tend to direct, lead and drive results at home, largely. They are the ones taking care of the family, multi-tasking (listening to kids while cooking or watching TV while completing household chores), running errands, and in some cases, all this happens while they are managing work. However, I wouldn’t deny, there are some who we’d be wondering, ‘if they do anything besides breathing out carbon dioxide.’ Don’t take me wrong, I am not judging! Rather, I’d say, ‘good for them. Maybe they know what they’re doing! It’s a good life.’ They have my respects… but personally, I would still prefer it another way. And BOTH ARE OK!
It is true and there is tons of research out there, which suggests that no matter how much or how little a woman does, we are constantly scrutinized for our lifestyle, commented upon our choices and much more. (I’d leave the details of this for another post) It is, nevertheless, a pertinent issue, which even Indra Nooyi, the CEO of PEPSICO talks about: She speaks about her struggle for balancing work and life and she also talks about how women leaders can be themselves and effectively mentor other women. for our holistic performance, whether in social situations, at the workplace or in any other aspect of life. And not to forget, if we don’t take care of this attitude and emotion at the earliest, it could even turn out to be an adrenal burnout, (applicable to men as well).
There is relevant authentic research available that speaks about how women can be more effective leaders than men (not that I want to compare because we’re wired differently for sure). As per some Harvard research (found here and here), women as leaders are much different from men, sometimes perhaps better but it is important for them to lead differently.
Based on my experience of having led teams, managed different kinds of people, I’d highly recommend these principles/ strategies to go by, whether you want to lead at work, or in life.
- Know that you’re doing enough and leading already: Most of us are either told or made to believe that we aren’t doing enough, either at work, [yes], or at home. We are indeed the first caregivers of our near and dear ones, so, things do change for us. The one that thing you need to remind yourself of, regardless of your setting and situation is that you’re doing well and will continue to do the same.
- Measure your strengths and sharpen them even more: Since the time we were growing up we’ve been told to work on our weak areas, instead of telling us, how we could strengthen our strengths. We all have strengths and skills that make us better at professional or social situations. You could take a few fun tests to measure your strengths: here and here.
- Stay and remain who you are, naturally: What I mean here is that you don’t need to associate yourself with “men-like” leadership skills or strengths if it doesn’t come naturally to you. We, women, are more drawn to emotions, communications, and feedback, which we can totally use as our native skills, to the best of our performance ability. We don’t need to change our personalities to “fit the bill.” One size doesn’t fit all, whether it is at work or in life. And when we truly accept this, people around us would be more accepting of it too, which brings me to my next point.
- Be confident to set your own stage: Sometimes it is OK to be influenced, or to be mentored by another person, however, by the end of it all, we are individuals who need to be confident in our own skins. We need to exhibit our own patterns, our own behaviors to actually successfully lead and nurture our environment. Whether we decide to take a back seat one day for another colleague to have his/her day, or decide to not make decisions at home for a day, we lead in our own ways, exuding the confidence we have in every sphere of life.
- Make competition irrelevant through your abilities: I understand it is a tough world but in any case, it depends on us, to make the competition around us irrelevant. We don’t need to follow the norms if it doesn’t go with our gut feeling, or just doesn’t feel like as the right thing to do.
- Stay connected to your emotions: Often women are associated to be sensitive and emotional being, who aren’t very “transactional” in their approach, truly anything in moderation is good and in excess is bad. Being emotionally connected and aware is an asset these days. This is actually a strength in today’s day and age. Organizations are realizing the importance of emotional intelligence and understanding to create a more conscious and aware organizational culture. More and more women bring this in and it is crucial for our peers, colleagues, and family members to experience this side of ours too.
- Always ‘do the right thing’ for yourself: Hey! Heads up. I do not mean that you stop being empathetic towards another person’s need or become selfish regarding your own good. But I do mean is take time out for yourself. Find ways to ensure you’ve taken care of you, as you strategically think about putting yourself first. Do what feels true to your core, to your skills and your strengths.
Now, let’s hear from you… if you’re a woman, have you ever wondered about your leadership skills? Or doubted them? If you’re a man, how may you have seen different women in leadership? What’s the single insight you’re taking away from this post? Mention it in the comments below. I would look forward to hearing from you.
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