Written by Erin Daniels, KNOW Women
Leadership Advice to Help You Be the Best Boss
Currently, women are underrepresented in leadership positions in nearly every industry-even in those in which they make up the majority of workers. Despite the increase in representation over recent years, only one in four C-Suite leaders is a woman and one in 20 is a woman of color. This gap remains as men continue to be promoted at a higher rate than women and women are leaving their companies more often due to discrimination, lack of promotion, being overworked, and starting their own businesses. In 2022, an average of 1,821 new businesses have been opened per day by women. This increase in entrepreneurship will create a great shift in the number of women in leadership positions.
As leaders in their respective industries, hear from these successful KNOW members as they share their advice on leadership throughout this four-part mini-series. Learn about leadership programs, scaling your leadership, motivating your team, and leading through change. Below they offer their advice to you on all things leadership
What advice would you give to those looking to scale their leadership?
The most important aspect of great leadership begins with active listening. In a corporate environment, employees are paid to follow direction, but in my opinion that isn’t a guarantee that they are interested in following you. Meet them first where they are in their commitments, and goals. Then ensure your leadership and direction gets to the heart of what is important to them, so they understand, accept and act with passion.
Get involved in programs and groups. Commit to making and fostering the relationships available. The connections I have made in KNOW are resulting in huge collaboration opportunities. There are so many opportunities but people need to see you and “know” you.
Find a mentor, coach, or program to help you identify your blind spots. No matter how self-aware you are, there are things you do that impact others that you cannot identify on your own. By working with someone else, they can help you see opportunities in your leadership skills and provide you with a different perspective that will help you grow.
Learn the various leadership models and adopt what works for your business, your personality, and the team culture you wish to cultivate.
Start with going to networking events and making it a goal to say “hello” to one person. Being the first person to start a conversation is huge and may seem daunting at first. However, once you get past that first goal you start expanding your circle and learning how to become a leader with the individuals you introduced yourself along the way.
Being a leader isn’t about coming up with all the ideas, always being right, promoting busyness, or vanity metrics. True leadership is helping your team fulfill their potential, creating a culture that values innovation, wellness, and collaboration. Leaders can create chaos or calm. Know that you have the ability to empower people and amplify energy… Make sure you’re aware & intentional about what you’re spreading. If you want to amplify your leadership: be respectful, be intentional, ask more questions, invest in people, and be willing to have difficult conversations.
My advice to those looking to scale their leadership skills is to get involved in your community! Every city has multiple options of leadership organizations, and getting that combined hands-on experience will kick-start your leadership development. Plus you will meet an amazing network of people who are also looking to scale their leadership. Success breeds success.
Ask for feedback from others on where you are strong and could improve as a leader. Have an open mind, open ears and a closed mouth. Then filter that feedback, listen to your intuition and take steps to improve.
Don’t become complacent! If you are in a position or situation where you have become completely comfortable, find a way to step out of your comfort zone so you can experience a new, challenging leadership opportunity. Brene Brown once said, “We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time.” To me, that means that when it’s time to grow/scale in leadership, put your big girl panties on and step up to the plate!
Realize the power of influence that you have where you are now and own it. Be confident in your strengths (what you know well) and humble enough to know what you’ve yet to learn, but don’t dwell here. Live in your strength! You can do this most powerfully when you lead with your whole self – your authentic self.
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