Developing necessary leadership skills can be an unnerving prospect.
If you find yourself in a leadership role with limited previous leadership experience, following these simple steps can help you harness the power of this new opportunity. Being a female leader is still accompanied by prejudices however when stepping into this role as a woman you do not need to alter your personality. These five actions are all interwoven so it is imperative that all are embraced in order to thrive within leadership.
Communication is a vital skill for anyone in a leadership role. Often women use more delicate language when making business decisions. This has its benefits in certain situations however clarity needs to always be retained. Effective leadership is not possible without effective communication.
Vagueness is a trap which many female, and male, leaders fall into. By leading without clarity, employees may misinterpret what is required of them or deadlines may be missed if the date is not expressed specifically. Consistently using specific language instead of words such as ‘maybe’ ‘perchance’ or ‘possibly’ will ensure goals are achieved and respect is created.
Avoid People Pleasing
It is important that you do not lose your own opinions within a need to please those around you. It is possible that women in leadership positions succumb to the opinions of those around them. However, it is important that your own opinions are not lost. By communicating effectively, your opinions can be voiced and you can achieve your desired results quickly.
Embrace Tough Questions
When you take up a leadership position you take on the responsibility to make tough decisions however this should not be shied away from. It is often thought that women in leadership do not have the capacity for tough decision making however this is not the case. By making these tough decisions you can command the necessary respect for effective leadership. Showing you can convert tough decisions into effective results is a perfect avenue to illustrate your extensive abilities. Challenges should always be regarded as an a way for progress.
Thrive in Negotiations
Lacking negotiation skills is a common leadership flaw in both men and women. It is understandable that conflict would want to be avoided. In a general sense, it is common that women especially will avoid conflict out of fear of bombardment and lack of resolution skills. By making some small, straightforward changes to your negotiating technique, you can become an expert negotiator and conflict resolver.
- Allow yourself enough time to make reasoned responses buy acknowledging that you will ‘think about’ the proposal in front of you. This will remove the fear of having to make a quick decision.
- Do not compromise your own feelings within the negotiations. It is important to consider the feelings of the other parties but this should not be at the expense of your own.
- Situate the negotiation within wider considerations. By thinking about how these negotiations will affect other areas of your business, or even your personal life, you will be more inclined to gain benefits from your negotiations.
By not losing sight of what you want to gain from negotiations whilst striving to placate any conflict, you can cultivate a positive, but also effective, leadership environment.
Build your ‘Bounce Back Ability’
Perseverance is an important trait within leadership. However, this does not mean that any ‘softness’ present within your personality needs to be removed. It is commonly believed that women need to conform to the ‘hard’ business stereotype but this is not the case as emotional grit is more important.
For example, it is easy to take colleagues actions personally however their actions can be an avenue for improvement. If you are hearing the same response from all colleagues, implement these changes instead of dwelling on the critiques. Additionally providing employees with the tools to further their own development is more important than relieving them from their challenges; allow colleagues to solve these problems independently. Similarly, make sure employees know what is expected of them and avoid negative behaviour, stick to your guns on what you deem acceptable to create a fruitful working environment for all.
These simple tips will help you to become an expert female leader. Further information on cultivating successful leadership traits can be found in Karen & John’s book ‘Real Leaders for the Real World’.
About the authors
Karen Meager and John McLachlan are the co-founders of Monkey Puzzle Training, two of only a handful of NLP Master Trainers in the UK and co-authors to Time Mastery; a number one best-selling book, and Real Leaders for the Real World; an IBA finalist. They are also winners of the Monkey Puzzle award, which they won in May this year: 2018 NLP Awards in the category ‘NLP in Business’
At Monkey Puzzle Training, Karen, John and their team specialise in developing leaders and supporting them in their personal and professional growth. They take the latest scientific and academic thinking and make it accessible and usable in peoples’ work and everyday life.
Both have successful business backgrounds for over 20 years, are clinically qualified in psychotherapy and hypnotherapy. Karen is an INLPTA certified NLP Master Trainer and a Principal Practitioner Member of the Association for Business Psychology as well as a UKCP registered Psychotherapist (DipNLPt). John is an INLPTA certified NLP Master Trainer, a Master Practitioner of NLP, a Principal Practitioner Member of the Association for Business Psychology, as well as a Therapist and a Clinical Hypnotherapist.