Women have, time and again, shown how their leadership can take their companies places. As leaders, the most significant aspect about women is that they take their workforce forward with them. It’s true that the percentage of women holding leadership positions in various sectors has been extremely low for the past few decades, but, this conditioning is changing and women are going all out to achieve greater heights.

While there still are several battles women face in climbing up the ladder, there are certain ways they can overcome obstacles and march ahead, and self-belief is the most significant of all. Leadership is all about collaborating, mentoring and inspiring, and this is something women are best at. Let’s take a look at some effective strategies that can help women embrace leadership roles and build on their strengths.

Remember that leadership has no gender

Age-old sexism and patriarchal structures have instilled in people’s minds that a leader looks like a man. That’s the most false statement ever. A leader is meant to lead the workplace, the system, and the workforce; gender has nothing to do with leadership roles. So women, understand that you’re an individual with leadership skills and that’s what matters. Recently, at the SheThePeople.TV’s #WomenWritersFest Ahmedabad, author Sonu Bhasin spoke about her idea of leadership and shared how “leadership to her does not have a gender in the first place”.

Don’t fear the spotlight

One of the most prevailing fears is the fear of being noticed. Limelight does scare the hell out of people and disables them from showing up. Women, you have the power to handle it all, at all places. True, putting yourself out there can bring up disagreement, disappointment, or even rejection. This, however, should not deter you from accepting who you are and most importantly, accepting it in front of others.

Speak often

Standing up for yourself and asking for what you need is the first step. It’s important to build a sense of assertiveness and this is something that will help you speak up for your rights as well. Ask questions and learn from others ahead of you. Remember, it’s always a ‘no’ if you don’t ask in the first place.

Show courage 

Demonstrating courage by accepting who you are and acting right by yourself is what will help sustain your position in the long run. Most importantly, it’ll help you lead by example and make others realise that they, too, have the qualities and skills, and it’s only right to embrace those.

Look around, and you’ll see women surpassing all stereotypes and managing their lives to the best of their abilities. If this isn’t a leadership trait, then what is?

Anuranjita Kumar – Managing Director, Human Resources at RBS, believes there’s a leader in every woman and the concept of leadership is more holistic than we think. “When I think about leadership, I have a maid, who has three children, and she works endlessly to make ends meet. In my perspective, she is a leader,” she said at the recent #WomenWritersFest.

Build on your potential

Identify your potential and also other women’s and build on that. As a woman leader at the workplace, you have the right and the power to nurture real talent and bring forward women who have long been suffering due to sexism and age-old workplace culture. Pay attention to all opportunities surrounding women and shift your focus in highlighting stories that inspire other aspiring leaders as well.

Don’t look for affirmation, realise you are good enough

Seeking validation from others is always the first step gone wrong. It’s important to recognise who you really are, accept that, and proudly take comfort in your own value. Healthy criticism is always an encouraging factor when it comes to leadership. However, it’s a healthy trait to be proud of your self-worth and ignore anything that seems cynical and discouraging.

And like Ginni Rometty – IBM Chairman and CEO – says, “One of the most important things for any leader is to never let anyone else define who you are. You define who you are. I never think of myself as being a woman CEO of this company. I think of myself as a steward of a great institution.”

Women, realise you are good enough and work on becoming self-affirming

Don’t let negative thoughts get to you and impact your decision making ability. At the end of the day, it’s your career and it’s in your hands how to handle it. As a woman, you have an additional advantage. It’s a proven fact that women possess most of the required EQ (emotional intelligence) factors that are required to be excellent leaders. Therefore, don’t be apologetic, embrace your own style and witness the wonder.

Never hesitate

There’s no need to hesitate if you are to give your employees feedback. It’s vital to be honest in your opinion, however hard a truth it may seem. Don’t beat around the bush and stay direct in all your communications with employees. Share your vision and at the same time, be open to others’ ideas as well. A recent study revealed how women CEOs scored significantly higher when it came to humility: the findings indicated a consistent lack of self-promotion among women, and a tendency to share the credit, expressing higher appreciation for others.

Banker and corporate leader Shinjini Kumar believes that women are efficient leaders who make for greater role models. Role models, she says, are truly those who make others feel valuable.

Focus on strategic thinking 

Strategic vision is the most crucial aspect required for people to become effective leaders. This holds true because strategy helps leaders identify issues and then resolve them after considering multiple angles. Ladies, you already have the capability of long-term planning and, thus, it’s even more easier for you to understand the impact your decisions can make on your business and its people. Work towards learning from diverse areas of business, take ideas and work upon them. This is going to help elevate your critical and strategic thinking and, at the same time, strengthen your work relationships.

Shaili Chopra, founder of SheThePeople.TV, recently shared her view about leadership saying “the whole idea should be to normalise leadership rather than idealise it”. It certainly holds true given the fact that women have, for long, been made to self-doubt themselves, and this is something which only be dismantled by believing there’s a leader in every person and it’s the person’s own ability and vision, and definitely not the gender, that will make one stand out.

Also Read: It Is Crucial For Young Girls To See Female Mentors: Shamika Ravi

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