Women Leaders – How to cope with the demands of leadership and be successful

Posted by on Jan 30, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Women make great leaders, there’s no doubt about that.  We are capable of bringing unique qualities to the meeting table; from fostering collaboration, strengthening relationships and building consensus to thinking comprehensively, being creative and having great intuition.  Even more, we are resilient and we don’t accept no for an answer, when our mind is set on something we go for it until we achieve our goal.

Whether you are in top management, middle management, non-profit, community work or own your own company, each position has a leadership role, and therefore the opportunity for you to be successful and make a positive impact. The key is to become a leader that drives results and that people will trust, follow and admire.

Let’s face it, being a woman in leadership has intrinsic challenges, and coping with all the demands of the role can be hard and stressful at times.  Leaving the particularities and requirements of the role aside, here are some things that can help you overcome the challenges and be more successful as a leader.                                             

1.  First and foremost, remember that you are a woman above all. You are equipped with many talents and qualities. And forget about that non-sense of having to be like a man to find success. You have to be comfortable in your own skin and be wise as to how you act, say or do.

2.  Never forget about family. In the end, lonely leaders are not very happy or successful, and it’s harder for them to relate to subordinates or peers that do have family commitments. Plus, family can be of great support and help make your life a little easier in times of stress.

3.  Take care of yourself. Successful leaders pay attention to their needs and take action around them. If you have been forgetting about all your other needs in order to focus on the job, it is time to look at what you have been missing that is important for you. You will be a better leader in the end.

4.  Communicate Effectively. Great leaders know how to communicate, how to reach different audiences and how to voice their visions and strategies, as well as their concerns.  Take time to express your needs and expectations. Be candid, they will listen; and if you are already successful driving results, they will listen even more.

5.  It’s all about harmonious balance.  And by balance don’t necessarily think that all things need to be done equally in the same amount.  They just need to be done in a way that you can manage and to the extent that they meet your needs.

6.   Don’t complain, just do it, and do it with a smile. Our days are filled with task that we rather not do but must get done, and it is easier if you change your attitude about these. Remember as a leader you set an example for others as well. 

7.   Add efficiencies to your life. We all have little inefficiencies throughout our day that get in the way of our path to success.  Find these and work a plan to become more efficient.  

8.   Don’t be afraid to ask the right questions. As a leader, asking the right and tough questions when appropriate can help move things forward successfully.

9.   Be open to feedback. Leaders must be good listeners, and when you ask someone for their opinion or advice, be willing to really listen and value the feedback.  Your ability to admit that you don’t always have the answer will earn you much respect.

10. Relationships are extremely important.  Successful leaders have an established power base and work very hard at expanding it. Surround yourself with individuals that can help champion you as you move to the top and be good mentors.  Not only this, you must be willing to own 100% all of the relationship instead of expecting that the other person will.

11. Finally, work on reframing limiting beliefs. Get rid of the common stereotypes about women in power and in general the ones in the back of your mind telling you that you are not good enough or that you don’t have what it takes to be a respected and admired leader. If you have what it takes, you have to start by believing it first.

With the exception of a few, most of these are important for both female and male leaders alike. In the end a good, effective, authentic, visionary, strong and caring leader will stand out and be successful no matter if they are wearing a suit or a dress.

It is up to you to make it happen.

2014©Karen Klingberg.  Karen Klingberg, Certified Executive Coach, Speaker and Leadership Blogger, owns ph+ Coaching where she helps individuals improve their leadership skills and build high performance organizations.  Karen also facilitates Omaha, NE groups for ELEVATE Your Leaders©, a uniquely designed and unusually effective leadership program for high potential managers.