Succeeding as a Woman in Leadership

management style

Great strides have been made for women in business over the last several decades. We are seeing more and more women in leadership, and are even witnessing the rising public respect given to these women in power (think: Sheryl Sandberg). But that doesn’t mean reaching those heights is easy, or that women have an equal opportunity to get there. The reality is, women are still making an average of 70 cents for every dollar men make, and those same men still make up the majority of those in boardroom meetings today. But that doesn’t mean change isn’t an ever-present goal, or that there aren’t opportunities for intelligent and motivated women to continue being successful in leadership positions. And the good news is, several of those women who have already found the most success in leadership have been opening up in recent years about how they accomplished their own goals.

Believe in Yourself

Kanya King, founder and CEO of the MOBO Awards, has said that she believes one of the biggest factors of success for women is having that self confidence to believe in themselves. Allow your passion to drive you, shape goals that you can see yourself striving towards, and then… keep aiming in that direction, no matter how long it takes. Never give up. If you trust in yourself enough, and are willing to beat down every door in the pursuit of your endeavors, those goals are within your reach. But you have to be willing to fight for them. For women to find success in business, they can’t allow that voice in the back of their heads convince them they aren’t good enough. They have to believe in themselves and their value, and be willing to fight to prove that value to others as well.

Empower Each Other

It may seem sometimes as though success in business is a cutthroat thing, but for women to be able to make their mark – they need to be open to making allies and advocating for the success of other women as well. Amy Schulman, Executive Vice President and General Counsel at Pfizer, said in a New York Times article that, “Women can and should do a better job of helping one another to be in that transactional forum, and to get over the anxiety that we’re going to be found wanting on the wrong side of that equation.” What’s that “transactional forum” she’s talking about? Basically, she means that women should be willing to help each other out – to exchange favors, lift each other up, and support the success of other women in their peripheral, in the hopes that they will receive the same support and favors in the future when they most need it. Now, can you grantee as a woman that you will get back what you give out in terms of supporting those who might otherwise be your competition? No. But you certainly stand a better chance of receiving that support if you are genuinely willing to provide it first. And empowering other women in their success opens more doors for you to find the same.

Think Outside the Box

Michelle Gass, President of Starbucks, was presented with the idea of a Frappuccino sans any marketing or growth plan. Just a drink… nothing more. And yet, she turned it into a $2-billion sensation. How? Well, she was willing to think outside the box. She first walked out of the boardroom and went straight to the customers, providing samples and asking questions. She visited the shops that might have otherwise been deemed Starbucks’ competitors in relation to this brave new world of blended coffee, and paid attention to how they drew their customers in. She envisioned what the product could be, and then held firm when naysayers within the company questioned the frugality of investing in the promotion of something so different. And look what her willingness to think outside the box produced today. Being a successful woman in leadership is absolutely possible, and the rewards are numerous; but you have to be willing to work to prove you are worthy of that success first. Are you?

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