I recently came across an article at the Women’s Agenda website titled Your daughter isn’t bossy, she has ‘executive leadership skills’: Lessons from Sheryl Sandberg. The article summed up one of the many crucial messages advocated in Sheryl’s book Lean In.
There is absolutely no doubt Sheryl has epitomized the movement toward the redefinition of female leadership and gender diversity. Somewhat of a (simple) masterpiece, the book has favoured the female revolution in business today.
“We want to provide women with the encouragement and support to lead. We want women and men to believe we can get to real equality … We want to close the pay gap,” Sandberg said.
The “your daughter isn’t bossy” message is such a strong one, and has helped pave the way in which women idealise and translate real female leadership values. The message also re-iterates the importance of how female leaders must teach young girls to look through the lens of real women. Here is another fantastic article and video clip in the Huffington Post based on a campaign to get more girls interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). The video clearly shows how our girls are becoming warriors and trailblazers in the playground, and are no longer tolerating the out-dated label of being a “bossy boots”.
With more and more women taking senior positions, and the changing shape of the female perception, female leadership theory is in it’s pioneering phase, and it asks women to evoke more of how women actually see themselves as leaders? It also asks who are women at a leadership values level? The answers to these questions will ultimately help to enhance female success in life and in business.
Another great article found at the Ogunte website Navigating Complexity by Jennifer Sertl goes into how we can re-calibrate ourselves in what is an ever-changing corporate consciousness. Jennifer believes “You must, by design, get to know yourself under the shell of saving face” Sertl uses delta by design to help us get to the ‘core’ of who we truly are, and methods by which to recognise our driving principles.
Halfway through Sheryl’s book, and taking on some of Jennifer’s thought theory, I’ve already begun to develop and share my own leadership lessons, and understand what makes me a truly effective leader?
My story is shaped like this… Working in the male-dominated construction industry, I often laugh at the many nick -names given to me by my male counterparts. The Princess of Power and Princess Warrior are two of my favourite. These nicknames are indicative of how my male peers uniquely (and somewhat strangely) express their admiration and recognition toward me as a female leader.
The Princess Warrior is my name of choice. Call it a sexist label from a man, I choose to call it my leadership nick name because it’s fun, and it’s The Princess Warrior who leads and conquers forth in the male dominated workforce! Herein lies a calibrated list of Princess Warrior Leadership Values, all of which are respected and valued by my male counterparts
- Personal Strength – As a leader we must always work on our emotional and intellectual stability and stamina. Aim for strong and sensitive but never overly aggressive.
- Openness – Always be truthful and avoid playing the ‘female card’. You are one of the team, and have free leeway to be direct, open and honest in your interactions.
- Collaboration – Continually form workplace unity and encourage communicative exchanges between people and teams.
- Ability to Listen – Do 20% of the talking, actively listen, paraphrase and highlight people’s strengths as much as possible.
- Be Different – The only way to make a difference is to be different. Harness your individuality and speak from the place inside which gratifies your right to be self -expressed. Always speak words that resonate as true to You!
- Empathy – Show gratitude and acknowledge people when credit is due. Don’t confuse empathy with being nice. Be direct and honest with your kindness. Smile and show compassion.
- Enthusiasm - Show your ambition, talents and passions. Don’t hold back in fear of being labelled. Self promote where appropriate and celebrate your achievements.
The underlying messages here are clear. Define yourself as a leader and teach and share your values with the world of female leaders around you. Sheryl has helped ‘take the lead’ in changing the shape of female leadership, as well as so many others out there doing amazing things. But you don’t have to be in business to be a leader. As a mother, a wife or a gorgeous female, we’re all women at the end of the day, and our leadership is genetic in form. Take some time to reflect on what makes you a unique leader, so you too can rule your warrior kingdom, and teach our young girls how to be super-heros!
Ana is a Coach, Consultant & Speaker. She works with individuals & groups to align consciousness with innovation, leadership and social responsibility. Also an athlete, Ana has played sport across most continents. She’s President/Co-Founder of a social impact program in Guinea West Africa, and is an advocate for young women and children aspiring to dream.
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