Studies show the majority of women believe confidence is key to effective leadership, but itís something they struggle with themselves throughout their careers. So as we celebrate International Womenís Day, itís worth exploring some of the ways that all leaders - but especially women, can drop the mask and, in doing so, enhance their presence at senior levels.
1. Discover your authentic leadership style
One trait that most effective leaders share is that they are true to themselves at all times. They lead in their own style, consistent with their own personality. The key to developing your authentic leadership style is to first take a look at your own values and personal history. A voice in which people can hear the truth is one that will most likely lead to transformational leadership.
What are the key events that have moulded who you are today? What lessons have you learnt on your journey? What shapes who you are? Perhaps you are a mother, partner, business owner or experienced career woman. Whatever your background and experience is, make no apologies for it, and turn it to your advantage. By taking your true self as a starting point, you can then learn how to apply your inner strengths to develop your most effective leadership style.
2. Own your emotional intelligence and clarify the impact you want to have in the boardroom
These are times of transformational leadership, where emotional intelligence, being aware of emotional cues, having empathy, support and integrity are increasingly important. Being confident and clear in your own mind about what you want to achieve will help your natural, authentic leadership style to flow. Once you understand who you are, the next stage is to be clear in your mind about exactly what you want to achieve.
3. Be alert to whatís going on around you
Once you have developed your core style and intentions, itís time to bring it into the here and now. Leaders do not operate in a vacuum. If you open your eyes to the fact that, just like you, everyone has their own style, their own history, their own motivations, you will be able to confidently walk into a room full of senior executives and know that you are the equal of those around you. This approach can help when it comes to delivering your message, influencing at the highest level, and building relationships with senior people.
4. Impress and establish credibility
It is not the loudest voice that wins credibility. Credibility grows from having a clear set of goals and an understanding of the environment in which you operate. A voice in which people can hear the truth is one that will most likely lead to transformational leadership.
5. And rememberÖ.
As more women come to understand themselves and to learn that authentic self-femininity is its own strength, then perhaps the women of today will embrace their leadership qualities, giving the future women of the 21st Century as many natural female role models as todayís men have.