National Business Women’s Week is celebrated during the third week in October every year. This gives us an opportunity to recognize and honor working women. For nearly a century, this celebration has helped promote leadership roles for women. Trading old habits for better ones can help women become more effective leaders in their organizations. Here are nine habits of strong female leaders.
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
To be a strong leader, you must have courage. Rather than operating in your comfort zone, participating only in areas where results are predictable, eagerly welcome new ideas and the opportunity to learn. Welcome new challenges, even if there is a risk of failure.
Demonstrate Emotional Intelligence
Avoid reacting to troubling work situations with hurt, fear, anger, or difficulty managing emotions. Instead, monitor your own and others’ emotions. Use intelligence and empathy to lead, manage, and collaborate with your team, peers, and the organization’s leaders. Practice calmness to help you keep emotions in check when making decisions and effectively lead others.
It is important to assert your leadership and influence with your voice. Speak up and speak out concisely. Repeat your message as often as necessary to make it stick. This particularly applies when your purpose is to establish a vision for the future or change or norm with your team. Practice persistence and do not give up, even against resistance.
The best leaders have the (often rare) ability to listen. Be open to communication from your team. This can help you get the most from your employees and better understand any resistance or difficulties. If an employee comes to you with a complaint about another team member, direct them to HR so they can report the issues and monitor what occurs.
Develop a Leadership Presence
Instead of taking a backseat at the table, walk, talk, and look like a leader. Accept credit for your own accomplishments, and give credit where it is due to help engage and inspire your team. Delegate responsibility to associates and find ways to empower others. Develop a habit of confidence. Know you will succeed, and know that others believe it as well.
Set a Good Example
A good leader leads by example. Be intentional in everything you do. Start and end meetings on time. Request feedback routinely. When you lead, others are watching. Your reputation will reflect your actions.
Cultivate Good Relationships
Make it a practice to consistently develop relationships with leaders and influencers inside and outside of your organization. Cultivate these relationships by listening, learning, sharing, supporting, and contributing.
In addition to confidence, perseverance, and creativity, all leaders need adaptability. Demands are different in every job and work environment, and they will continue to evolve with the workforce, client needs, and technology. Leaders need the ability to weather changes and use them to their advantage.
Ignore Bad Advice
To move forward, you must stick to a sound plan based on knowledge of your company, industry, and clients. This may involve ignoring some advice, particularly from uninformed or inexperienced sources. Only listen to those who have experience in the area concerned.