For any woman wanting to get into a leadership role it can seem hard to know where to start, especially if the company culture doesn’t seem incredibly conducive to it.
To many women too, the thought of being a ‘leader’ is a little jarring. Whilst of course we all want the best for ourselves, doesn’t it mean I will have to work more hours, and will have less time for the kids or my partner?
There’s certainly a lot of confusion about what leadership really means these days, especially with more flexible working cultures and more autonomy than ever before being given to all employees to simply ‘get the job done’ from anywhere.
But what I really think it means, if we break it down to its simplest form, is progression. It’s a way to progress from your current position to next level. It’s about a feeling of empowerment, a feeling of bettering yourself, a way to give back and motivate others to succeed. Whilst men often thrive on being leaders, many women shy away from it as the gender parity gap would attest to. So, what can we really do about it and how can we even out the gap?
Understand and recognise your limiting beliefs
Women are amazing, we can do it all from look after the house, the kids, the admin at home, the school run, the dog AND we have careers. We take the lead on everything else that goes into our lives yet why do so many of us feel we can’t take the lead at work? We need to focus more on believing in ourselves and thinking we can do it which all starts with our self-confidence and belief systems. Work out if they are limited by asking yourself what your biggest goal is. If it doesn’t seem that unobtainable it’s probably worth a re-evaluation.
Don’t settle for the company culture if you feel you can change it
Many of us don’t feel we can add anything to a stuffy or bureaucratic company culture, but the truth is that often these are the easiest to change. If you are working somewhere where nobody has ever tackled leadership on the head then you’re in a good position to make a real difference. Don’t feel that you have to accept the status quo when it comes to company culture as most companies would welcome with open arms anyone with initiative to make a change. It doesn’t mean you have to go out there and say you overtly want to ‘lead more’, but you could most certainly show your leadership skills through starting something that gets you a followership such as a social club, or charity fundraiser for example.
Work out what leadership means to you
Everyone needs a ‘why’ for whatever they do. It makes everything we do have a purpose and an end goal. Work out what your ‘why’ is. Why do you want to get into leadership and what would it mean to you? Do you feel you have a lot to offer? Perhaps you want to set an example to your children? If you don’t have a reason to do something that really means something to you, then you won’t find a reason to want to do it. Simple as that.
Know you can transition to the next level
According to studies many women don’t recognise when they are in fact ready to progress to the next level of their career because they don’t feel they will be able to fulfil the advanced role. They have what’s known as ‘imposter syndrome’. In order to lead by example we need to adopt an attitude of fearlessness to career progression a little more. As the famous book says, ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’. I always say my most memorable days in my life are the days that I lived outside of my comfort zone and it’s true. To have a memorable and rewarding life, don’t be afraid of feeling fear.
Build a sisterhood
When it comes to leadership we must recognise the power of supporting and empowering each other. Whether it be through finding a mentor who you admire who can coach you or give you guidance, or a group who you trust and who are aligned on the same goals. It all helps as it gives us all a forum to speak up and build confidence.
Speaking up about your accomplishments is not bragging
Don’t feel that if you talk about your successes you will be construed as an egomaniac or conceited. Have confidence in yourself as it shows strength of character. You have as much right to be in the room as anyone else!
About the author
Based in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Lara Asprey is hailed as one of the UK’s most successful VIP matchmakers, dating and relationship experts and entrepreneurs.
As a matchmaker, she has successfully matched numerous couples from high society and well-known celebrities.
Founder of Asprey Introductions, Lara has spent several years matchmaking her close friends and contacts, finding them suitable matches after recognising and pinpointing their struggles in finding a match. The agency offers a matchmaking service as well as dating and relationship coaching, life coaching, styling, photography and regular singles events in some of London’s most desirable locations.
For over ten years, Lara has built up an enviable ‘Little Black Book’ full of the most desirable and eligible singles around and strongly believes there is a need for a service catering exclusively to them, being careful in her process of selecting the members admitted to the Club.
In 2018 Lara starred in a brand-new TV show The Ultimate Matchmaker on the W Channel (UKTV) which first aired in August 2018. The show followed Lara, her agency, staff and clients on their journey to find love. It is the first and only high-end matchmaking show of its kind, specifically focusing on the lives and loves of the country’s most aspirational singles.
Lara’s multi-faceted career has led her to the world of publishing, signing a book deal with So Vain Books back in 2015, where she has incorporated her extensive knowledge of dating into a relationship advice book entitled The Very British Rules of Dating. The book focuses on coaching women in the UK how to navigate the turbulent dating landscape where men don’t talk to women and everyone is addicted to dating apps. It sets out to encourage tongue-in-cheek advice such as ‘getting better at banter’ and ‘the rules of rapport’.