Just about any woman or person in this world can say that they are a leader but when it comes down to it their actions are what determines rather or not they are a true leader. Now everyone’s idea of what it means to be successful is different. For me I look at success through the lens of how female leaders carry themselves and how they treat those around them who are looking up to them. I look to see if what they are communicating aligns with the actions they are taking each and every day. I don’t want to follow anyone who speaks one way on the macro level but then on the micro level you find a completely different person. It’s not hard to tell when a leader’s words aren’t matching up with their actions because all you have to do is observe those which they are “leading” and listen to how they communicate and interpret their relationship with their leaders.
In my career experience over the last 10 years of my life I have worked with many female leaders who I thought were amazing and I felt proud to be a part of their team and I have also worked for those where I felt like I was putting my own reputation at risk just by being associated with the person I had to call my leader. Today I want to outline for you 5 essential qualities that I feel successful women leaders should possess. There are many, many more than the 5 I will list but I feel these are at the top of the list. If you are a leader where you work and have people reporting to you you’ll want to pay attention. This is not for those just starting out in their career but for women at any stage of their leadership career.
- Communicates the overall vision of the organization and shows you where your contributions fit into that vision. When your staff understands their purpose and the “why” behind what they are doing it makes it real easy for them to get on board. If they aren’t sure what the vision is and how they fit into that, it makes it difficult for your staff to gauge whether or not what they are focusing on is truly important. We’re always telling our staff to prioritize but if you aren’t communicating the vision and organizational goals your staff end up focusing on the wrong tasks.
- Serves as a Mentor and Coach. Part of our responsibility to our staff or in my case my students is to be that person who supports them in their life or career journey. It’s important to be that coach who holds them accountable and when you see them struggling to step in and help them determine their next best step. A mentor is that individual that leads by example. Your staff is looking to you to see how you handle certain situations so that the behavior they see can be emulated when they come across similar situations.
- Carries a High Level of Integrity. Do what you say and say what you mean. It’s so important to be a person of your word, maintaining confidentiality when appropriate and doing the right thing even when no one is looking. People smell a person with a low level of integrity a mile away. Having a high level of integrity enables you to build trust worthy relationships and staff who will be loyal. Another way I like to look at this is being a leader who walks their talk.
- Sets Clear Expectations and Desired Outcomes. This characteristic overlaps a bit with #1 except here you want to clearly state what you expect from each member of your staff. I remember when I was in college I received a syllabus for each of my classes and each one had a section that spoke to the expectations that the teacher had of us. It would say such things as presenting to class on time, submitting work by the due date, as late work was not accepted, to be fully engaged with the classmate. We have to do the same thing with those whom we are leading. Some expectations are just self-explanatory but if you have an expectation that is custom to how you like your staff to be then it’s important that you communicate that otherwise you’re going to always be frustrated. In line with this is the importance of clearly stating the outcome you expect from those you lead when giving them projects or assignments to complete.
- Admits When They Are Wrong. I don’t know why we view this as a weakness but I have seen it happen in my years of working in Corporate America. Believe it or not when you are able to be transparent and admit when you are wrong or made a mistake you instantly gain the trust of those you lead. What I have seen happen is female leaders try to cover up the fact that they know they were wrong about something and again your staff smells that a mile away. Then what you start doing is eating away at your credibility as a leader. People want to follow those who are confident enough to take personal responsibility for their short comings. It’s okay to be wrong sometimes. It does not mean you are perfect when you become a leader of others.
Wherever you are in your career remember there is more to being a leader than the title you are given. It is an honorable responsibility that should never be taken lightly because you have the ability to impact the lives of others in a huge way so make it a positive impact. Because the responsibility is so great it’s important that you carve out time to take care of yourself and nourish your mind so that you can present the best version of yourself. Being the best starts with waking up each morning with a routine in place that will allow you to present your best self to the world.
I encourage you to take advantage of my FREE resource the 7-Step Morning Manifestation Routine.
I am also offering a FREE 30-minute clarity session as well. In a nutshell I help women get their mind right so that they can lead a live they love and deserve. Reserve your time today by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.