Women in Leadership: Turning Challenges into Opportunities

Black female boss leading corporate multiracial team meeting talking to diverse businesspeople, african american woman executive discussing project plan at group multi-ethnic briefing in boardroom

“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg

 

The impact that women are making in leadership roles is unmistakable. The Wall Street Journal estimates that 41 women will be in CEO positions in Fortune 500 companies in 2021. Couple that with the fact that more than 11.6 million companies are woman-owned, employing almost 9 million people. The challenges that come with the increased leadership positions for women can be turned into opportunities.

Standing out in a crowd
Being part of an executive team or running one means that you’re often one of the few women, if not the only woman, in the room. Rather than blending in, use your distinctiveness to your advantage. Push through your internal impediments and have confidence in your skillset and your choices.

Build a support network
Having a support structure is essential to success both at home and in the office. It’s natural to look to other women for encouragement but don’t overlook the males around you. Building relationships helps strengthen your network and allows you to grow personally and professionally.

Embrace learning
Be open to learning, constantly, not just from reading and trainings, but also from other people. Consider mentoring others and seek the support of mentors and coaches for yourself. There is much to be gained from the deep insights of coaching and the exchange of knowledge through mentoring.

Exceed expectations
The propensity to underestimate women in leadership roles can be grating, but rather than take it personally, look at it as motivation to push past the biases of others and exceed their expectations. Your unswerving, consistent success is the best way to correct these misconceptions and pave the way for others.

Judge yourself fairly
We are often our own worst critics. This unfair judgment or doubting of your abilities for many years was referred to as “impostor syndrome”. Being self-aware and feeling unsure at times doesn’t make you an impostor; it just makes you human. Accurately self-assessing yourself is part of being a leader, and learning to identify when you are being overly critical is important.

These challenges can be converted to opportunities and again, if you need help, consider working with an executive coach to help identify your strengths, build your confidence, and better address these issues. Also, I’m hosting a Women’s Masterclass this Spring; if you’re interested, let us know, we’ll be taking applications soon.

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