Want to be a Leader? Expect this.
Leadership for Women: Pros and Cons
Do you wonder about all the buzz around leadership? Well, it's mainly because we can't live (and grow) without it, and to be honest, it’s not always easy to live with it either.
You might have heard the 101 definitions of what a leader is. Let me set the record straight: There is no consensus on what leadership means.
However, one thing is certain, it has to do with establishing and maintaining a positive ripple effect on the people around you. And it’s not rocket science. It’s harder. But it makes it all more rewarding.
On one side, there has been this ongoing debate on whether leaders are born or made. I certainly acknowledge that some people have inherent leadership qualities. This does not mean, though, that one cannot develop or enhance some skills.
We all have something to work on. For some it’s communication or negotiation skills; for others, it’s time and energy management, and then there is decision-making, coaching, or team leadership.
In any case, let me share with you what a large number of leaders have agreed on:
One thing: It all starts with being authentic and genuine. One cannot pretend to be a leader.
So, start at home. Reflect on what effect and influence you have at home. How do you make the people around you feel?
How about your values? Do you walk the talk? Are you perceived as such?
Two: The road to leadership is filled with challenges and roadblocks. You need to be resilient and keep the big picture in mind.a- You are going to be required to make really difficult decisions, and whatever you decide, you will tick someone off - to say the least. So start growing a really thick skin.
Besides, people will keep pressuring you to make a decision. “You’ve got to decide now! Otherwise, something awful will happen" they'll say..not! Very often, people pressure you into making a decision that serves their own agenda. Watch out; take a step back; and get the data you need.
2- You are very likely to lose some friends. That's especially when you work with them and you're the one with the leading position: Being a genuine leader means that you sometimes need to look your friend in the eye and say that what they're doing is wrong, or that they've taken advantage of your friendship. Set rules together with your friends from start and embrace the fact that some will not comply. On the other hand, listen to them and do not feel superior because you’re in charge.
3- You will often be criticized. Women leaders, especially, are easily scrutinized and often torn in pieces. Don't expect the hall of fame. People may have different opinions and will not always choose to share them with you even if you encourage them to do so. Again...the thick skin, with other women too considering that women are not always easy with each other.
4- When you lead, you often need to speak, argue, communicate, energize, debate, and motivate. For all of this, you need consistent interaction and exposure. Let a genuine purpose drive you; live with it, but protect your private time with your family and your time alone and enjoy it.
5-You will question yourself and your decisions incessantly. Be ready for constant post-editing of your statements "Oh, I should have said THIS instead"; I should have responded with THAT.". Don't torture yourself with "Why wasn't I better?", and focus on "What I will learn from this!” In other words, get over the self-induced torture and turn it into lessons learned.
6- Be ready for physical pain- in your heart. When you've done wrong. Admit. Assume responsibility. Apologize. Learn.
So, yes. Leadership is inconvenient. Keep focused on the impact. That's what it's about; isn't it?, and "Tell the negative committee that meets inside your head to sit down and shut up." - Bradford
Written by Dr. Radhia Benalia on 14 July, 2018 - Edited 14 January, 2019