From motherhood to teaching, women everywhere have demonstrated their fierce ability to lead. These days, the gap between women and men in business leadership positions, while large, is shrinking. This means that now is the time to step up and recognize our potential to be strong, capable women seated at the head of the table. Luckily for us, women have four natural superpowers they can leverage during the journey.
1. The Power of Communication
To start, women understand the importance of effective communication - and this includes asking questions. As female leaders, we strive to gain understanding before coming up with an answer. Further, we are able to maintain lengthy and productive communication with colleagues, making sure that everyone in the room is included and on the same page. In fact, the Editor-in-Chief of Mental Floss magazine, Jessanne Collins, has observed that leading teams of great communicators has always been more effective than not. This superpower also goes the other direction, as demonstrated in the way that women are generally strong listeners. Through careful listening and the deliberate asking of questions to get to the root of the problem, female leaders can come up with better and more inclusive solutions.
2. The Power of Service
Throughout history, women have shown that they are compassionate and capable caretakers, whether through mothering children and helping aging parents or working in the fields of nursing and social services. This is because women's personalities tend toward the ideals of sympathy and emotion over the more masculine tropes of analysis or critique. Regardless of whether this is nature or nurture, women have a powerful ability to empathize with colleagues and view the task of managing through a lens of coaching and counseling as opposed to a top-down dictatorship. In this way, female leaders can more effectively guide their subordinates and serve them instead of directing them in a hands-off manner. An example of modern servant leadership is Student Maid's Kristen Hadeed, who focuses on guiding and developing her employees according to a culture of values. Because of this, their employee retention has gone up.
3. The Power of Community
For many women, building relationships come naturally. Steadfast in their personal friendships, women know how to create a lengthy, positive, and beneficial relationship with another person or organization. The superpower of community is an incredible strength when it comes to networking with colleagues and other leaders in the field. Networking isn't something that should be done at a time of need; rather, it means building a relationship ahead of time in order to have support you can draw from in the future. Women understand this. For example, Robyn Scott (the cofounder of OneLeap) uses this ability to successfully connect social entrepreneurs with executives.
4. The Power of Self-Awareness
Finally, women have a keen sense of self-awareness and know how to focus on their inner thoughts and needs. This can manifest itself in a variety of beneficial ways within the workplace. For one, a successful leader is able to reflect on her own leadership style, including what has (or has not) gone well. This comfort with introspection can produce a more effective business model with the ability for constant improvement. For example, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg encourages self-awareness in Lean In, walking women through exercises to explore their own ideas and room for growth. Beyond this, women can also harness this power into self-care, an important concept for those in giving careers. Through self-care, you can learn t set boundaries and know when to say no - a crucial part of effective leadership.
Being a woman in a leadership position means utilizing all the superpowers you've been given to help you and your business succeed. With these tools, you can come out on top in even the most challenging situations.
About the Author: Michele Thompson Rosario, CEO of Bright Effects, helping entrepreneurs get clients, get traffic, and get results.