Women in leadership roles are on the rise and for good reason. There are many positive benefits to having women in leadership roles in businesses. There is both a financial and emotional value that comes from having more women in leadership roles on all levels within a company.
There was a study on Fortune 500 companies that showed when there was a greater representation of women at board level and through leadership roles, that there was not just a greater financial result, but also there were higher levels of employee engagement. People who were in organisations that had a higher number of female managers said they had greater job satisfaction, they felt that the organisation cared more about their career development, there was less burnout, and they felt they had a greater life-work balance. The interesting thing was, that applied to both the males and the females, but it applied even more strongly to the males. This just goes to show the positive impact women in leadership roles are having on the companies that are choosing to embrace this work culture.
We’re moving into a time when we’ve got younger people coming into the workforce, and they’re not like Gen X’s. They demand to have work-life balance, they demand to have their emotional and lifestyle needs met. Our more female version of leadership has a very strong role to play in the future.
However, there is certainly a shortage of mentors for women in leadership roles. We are still living in a patriarchal society where the majority of managers and leaders are men. And most men have been brought up to have a sense of entitlement to hold these positions of power, whereas women traditionally have been brought up to be facilitators and nurturers. So, when a woman wishes to take a key leadership role, there are often very few role models or mentors further up the hierarchy to assist her. We all know that anybody having a mentor is an important facet of career development, so if women are to rise without a mentor it’s a much tougher journey for them.
Without a mentor, what do women need most to get into these leadership roles?
Women must have courage, the courage to take more risks, to dare to be different, and to drive this change we’re all looking for.
Both males and females are very important in organisations, women don’t have to replicate men. Women know we have values of our own, and we should have the confidence and the courage to simply be ourselves. Very often men feel very comfortable in their right to hold these positions of leadership, but women can tend to suffer from the imposter syndrome and are always trying to prove their value. One of the great advantages that we have as women is that no one expects us to be like men in dark suits, we can dare to be different.
We can go against the grain, we can break the rules, and we can challenge the established thinking, and that is exactly what we are doing.
The world is changing, and the next generation will grow up very different to yours. We are right on the cusp of so much rapid change that soon, the next generation will only know the struggles and hardships through history books. Girls will grow up with role models already on boards and in powerful, authoritative, and influential positions. They may read about it, but hopefully will never experience any discrimination or any stifling stereotypes that once held women back. So, what are some actions that women can use to get on board this trend and push the world over that cusp? How can you empower yourself to be one of these women, or one of the women the next generation look up to?
Be Authentic. Empowerment comes first and foremost from within. We decide what our story is and what it is going to look like. We are the ones who decide our beliefs and our passions. If we stay true to ourselves and what we want in our lives, that is the most powerful motivation to go out and achieve our goals.
Confidence. Confidence is underrated. Yes, it starts with you, but is reinforced by those around you. Finding a group of women who can be supportive and a cheer team for you can make a world of difference when you are beginning to take those big risks needed to change the world. A supportive community, a tribe, can be your cheerleader to keep you accountable and push you forward in the right direction.
Self-Awareness. Women are strong. We have strong beliefs and a passion that drives us. It’s important to be self-aware though, don’t let your assertiveness become a negative trait. It can be easy to become over-empowered and bulldoze your way into situations. This kind of mindset can derail your plans quickly. You can become so focused that you don’t see any of the warning signs or heed the advice from those around you. This can sometimes kill a dream faster and isolate you from those who are trying to be supportive. Don’t let your assertiveness burn bridges within the community, listen to others, and find a diverse group that will encourage you to check yourself and evaluate your goals and decisions. This does not mean giving up your authenticity. Stay true to your beliefs.
The next generation will know a different world. We need to ensure that young girls see women as strong and empowered, achieving things that just a few years ago seemed impossible. So, women out there, keep being authentic, confident, and self-aware. A whole new generation is waiting for you.
This blog is based predominantly on the information given by Roberta Dixon-Valk during her appearance on Empowering Women…Back Yourself: A Stronger Than My Excuses Show. Watch the full panel discussion here.
“Positivity gets you through adversity. Confidence helps you achieve your goals.” – Julie Watson
Blog article by Brendan Rogers
“I can do this!”
It is just four little words but the way you say it is by imagining you are writing it with your wrong hand. This is just one of the mind techniques Julie Watson shares with us today on The Culture of Things (TCoT) Podcast as she breaks down the difference between being positive and being confident.
Julie is General Manager of Stronger Than My Excuses which helps people to find their own inspiration through presentations and web TV panel discussions. Everyone has a story to tell but unfortunately, many of us have excuses within that story. Stronger Than My Excuses is designed to help people push through those excuses, stop that status quo and move forward in their lives.
As someone living with Chronic Renal Failure, with five years on dialysis, Julie knows a thing or two about overcoming adversity. Her story involves reflecting on times where she found herself sitting in pools of blood, experiencing massive seizures in the middle of the night and having a kidney transplant which didn’t work. Around eight years ago, Julie lost a really good job and her financial situation was in tatters, all during a period where she realised her relationship wasn’t working.
Fast forward to now, where Julie has been living with her Dad’s kidney, and her recent specialist report was that her results are actually the best they have ever been. She has started her own business, bought a unit near the beach, as well as a new car and is in a new relationship. She has set up her business as one which can be run remotely and has lived in Croatia for three months doing just that. She now feels healthy, vibrant and alive and has come to realise that although positivity was getting her through this adversity, confidence was what she needed to achieve her goals.
One of the first habits Julie formed was establishing a three-minute morning routine which involved really looking after herself. She watched a movie called The Secret, began to understand the science behind visualisation and consequently focuses on gratitude and mindfulness. Goals are something that we need to have, life is what is happening to us right now.
It is safe to say that Julie has well and truly harnessed her confidence and stepped into the arena. She is backing herself, started raising her hand asking people to invest in her and, although she has had her fair share of setbacks, has the positive mindset to learn from them and keep moving forward. She understands that it is not always big decisions that make us move ahead, it is everyday decisions which require you to constantly turn up.
As someone who has turned to motivational talks, Julie knows first-hand what it feels like to catch yourself being a ‘seminar junkie’ in a quest to be successful. It is easy to be motivated when someone is giving pep talks but, the moment we walk out the door the motivation can begin to fade. She is now growing her business which centres around giving people the tools to help physically move, take action and simply get started.
There are four steps involved in turning positive into confidence, the key to being stronger than my excuses, which Julie shares on today’s episode of The Culture of Things (TCoT) Podcast. She also explains how to overcome things such as habit loops. The brain understands it is dangerous to jump out of a plane; what it doesn’t understand is the reward of exhilaration…
If you have a “normal” 9 to 5 job, it can be easy to justify spending all that time at work. If we have our own business however, why is it that we feel guilty about spending our time on our goals and our clients instead of with our families?
Tara Mollel, a business coach, brings up two common reasons why we might feel this guilt:
We don’t prioritise our own needs.
Many times, especially in parents, we tend to prioritise the needs of others over our own needs. This can be seen often when trying to take care of our families or clients and ignoring time that we need to rejuvenate ourselves. Our natural instinct is to help others; however, we need to remember that others may not have our best interest at heart. If we don’t take care of ourselves, then eventually we can get burnt out and not be able to help anyone.
We feel we have to meet all our needs at once.
Instead of taking it one step at a time, we tend to focus on the big picture and all the things that need to get done. So even if we are working on that first step, our mind tends to think about all the things that we are not doing. Setting up ridiculous expectations for ourselves. When we do not meet those expectations… that’s when the guilt comes in.
So, what can we do to help alleviate some of this guilt? Set boundaries.
Boundaries allow us to set aside time for things that we value without feeling like we are ignoring others.
Tara’s Tip #1! Outline your top 5 to 10 things that you value and want to prioritise in your life. Write out how you want to live these out and what roles these values play in your life. By designating specific times for each value, it will allow you to focus on each one while knowing that your other priorities will have their time.
For example, a common situation is handling a good work/family balance. Many times, it’s hard to tell your kids that you can’t talk now because you’re working, but if you take the time to create these boundaries, the situation can go from “I don’t have time for you” to “your time is coming, just not now”. This helps to create a balance and ensures that you are setting aside time to take care of all your priorities.
Tara’s Tip #2! Get a scheduler. Any schedule can be great to help you get organised, but a handy one to use is Trello. Through the web or app, it is always at your fingertips and makes it easy to adjust as needed! You can also share it with others on your team or your family to help keep everyone on the same page.
Remember, it’s ok to have multiple priorities and needs. And it’s ok for one of them to be taking time for ourselves. Setting some clear boundaries can help alleviate the guilt we feel, while maintaining balance in how we spend our time.
This blog is based predominantly on information given by Tara Mollel during her appearance on The Stronger Than My Excuses Show: Guilt…you can’t help others until you help yourself.