What’s Your Leadership Style?

Women often face unique challenges in developing a leadership style. Some struggle with managing others while maintaining a “nice girl” image. They don’t want to be ignored, but they don’t want to be seen as too pushy, or a “mean girl” either. It’s a delicate balance to find a style that’s effective and feels like your perfect fit.

One ginormous problem is that we have a shortage of female role models. We often learn leadership styles by observing others; but there are way too few female executives to observe and learn from. We can watch male leaders too, of course, but men can’t demonstrate exactly what it takes to be a successful female leader.

If there aren’t many female leaders at your employer, consider joining a professional association or community organization to increase your pool of role models. These non-work settings will also give you a chance to try out YOUR leadership style outside the office.

At work, try to enlist mentors and solicit their feedback on your leadership skills. After a meeting, ask a trusted superior what behaviors worked and what didn’t. Ask for their advice on how you can improve.

I’ve told you this before…practice is key. And you have to take action in order to practice, so try things like leading presentations at meetings, actively engaging colleagues and superiors in conversation, and talking frequently about your ideas, industry research, or client interactions.

Self-promotion may feel unnatural. You may worry that you’re drawing too much attention to yourself, or even setting expectations too high. But there are ways to feel more comfortable doing this. Take a close look at your work and pinpoint what differentiates you from your co-workers. Then, start small. Offer enthusiasm and ideas about a new company-wide initiative. Your enthusiasm will translate to others as confidence, and confidence is an essential trait of a leader. You can be a leader at any and every level in both your work and personal life! Yay you!

Share your Moxie:  Who are the female leaders that you most admire? Share your opinion in the comments section below. xo. ~KG

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