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Three Tips For Female Leaders

Mark Wager is an international leadership expert who regularly runs programmes in Fiji. Mark can be contacted at Mark@Leadership.com.fj This is an article I’ve delayed writing because as a middle
27 Oct 2018 10:00
Three Tips For Female Leaders
From left: Director for South Sea Cruises, FHL Stockbrokers Limited and FHL Media Limited Catherine Grey, Director for Life Cinema Saleshni Warran, Director for FHL Fund Management Limited Ana Tuiketei, Fijian Holdings Unit Trust Trustee Seruwaia Hong Tiy, Director for Basic Industries Limited Kalpana Lal, Director for RB Patel Limited Litiana Loabuka, and Director for Pacific Cement Limited Nikita Patel.

Mark Wager is an international leadership expert who regularly runs programmes in Fiji. Mark can be contacted at Mark@Leadership.com.fj

This is an article I’ve delayed writing because as a middle aged man, I’ve felt that I wasn’t best qualified to talk about Leadership advice for women leaders.

Yet in truth the majority of my coaching clients are very successful women who are in senior management roles and during these sessions with women from a range of industries I’ve seen a pattern in the kind of challenges they have to face.

As a result I wanted to share some of the advice that I have given these leaders and hopefully it will help other women leaders to take their career to the next level.

Have confidence in your ability

I know it’s dangerous to generalise but I’ve coached many women leaders who doubt themselves when they shouldn’t.

I have also coached some leaders who are men who don’t doubt themselves when maybe they should. When I see this I recall a study that was conducted on companies when they looked at why there were very few woman in senior management roles.

One of the main conclusions they found was the differences in mentality between male and female leaders.

When a senior role was advertised typically a female leader would look at the requirements for the job and if they saw the job required 10 competencies and they only had seven of those 10 then they didn’t apply because they didn’t think they were qualified for the position. Yet with male Leaders when they saw the same job application they would apply even if they only had three of the required competencies.

The main reason was that they believed they had the three most important qualities so that’s why they applied.

As a result there were far more men than woman applying for senior management roles even though a lot of women were more qualified than the men.

Have confidence in your ability and don’t be afraid to go for senior positions even if you don’t believe you have all the necessary skills. You don’t want to be in a position of regret when you find that by not applying the position went to someone else who is clearly not as good or as qualified as you are.

Don’t be labelled

Some practical advice from an unlikely source.

Jessica Alba is well known as a movie actress but a lot of people don’t realise that she is also a highly successful businesswoman with a company said to be worth $1.7 billion and a personal net worth of $350 million.

As co-founder of The Honest Company she pioneered a range of environmentally friendly products aimed mainly at the baby market with diapers and baby wipes which has resulted in her being listed as one of America’s most wealthy entrepreneurs under the age of forty.

When she gave a talk to Harvard University she was asked what was the best advice she would give to young female leaders and she spoke about how easy it was to be labelled by people, and to be aware not to make the mistake of falling into those labels.

So being a young female leader typically in a room of mostly older males she found she was often expected to take the notes and sit at the back of the boardroom so her advice was simply don’t take the notes.

Don’t fall into the trap of being labelled. Other people can take the notes and other people can sit at the back of the room.

She wanted to be judged by her contribution and not judged by a label that others placed on her.

Be authentic

When faced with a workplace filled with mostly male leaders it’s easy for a female leader to believe they have to compete by trying to be more of a man than the men.

Today’s most successful female leaders focus on being the best version of themselves rather than a better copy of someone else.

They are in simple terms authentic.

The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Arden has received worldwide praise for her leadership style.

She is tough, she is fearless but you never get any impression that she is anyone else but herself, she’s not a copy she’s uniquely authentic.

Every successful leader has a leadership style that is formed through their life experiences in this world.

As a woman you bring a viewpoint that half of the population doesn’t share so use that to your advantage.

Take Ms Arden as an example, who is the world’s youngest female head of government and she is only the second world leader in history to give birth while in office.

Ms Arden has spoken openly about how these experiences, her youth and becoming a parent has developed changed her views on the world, her politics and her leadership style.

Successful leader

To be a successful leader you can walk the path that others have travelled previously as long as on the way you discover your true, authentic self.

We are individuals for a reason, never forget that.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a man or a woman, young or old, rich or poor, there will be challenges that you have to overcome in order to be successful.

Some people have more challenges than others but everyone has challenges.

If you are a female leader then you will have some challenges that your male leaders don’t have but on the other hand you will bring a viewpoint that they can’t.

If you follow the advice that have helped many others before you and have confidence in your ability, don’t allow others to label you and be authentic then you will be able to influence, motivate and inspire people regardless of age or gender.

Mark Wager is available between 12th-14th December if you would like Mark to train your Leaders contact him at Mark@Leadership.com.fj contact him at Mark@Leadership.com.fj

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj



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