Men often find it hard to understand women, specifically, how they behave, their attitudes, their creativity, their feelings unless, like my husband, Mike, they have been influenced all their lives by women. We are wired differently, we lead differently and we make decisions differently. Our communication styles and personalities differ, as well. Great women support men and show them how to be successful communicators when dealing with other women. Great leaders, regardless of gender, make it a point to listen, learn, and then and only then, take action.
Some women are highly collaborative and are still masterful leaders. We enjoy team leadership and our own space and time. I march to the beat of my own drum and I am fine with that, I learned long ago that other people’s opinions of me are none of my business. Mike knows I am a strategist and problem solver, especially where others have failed. I prefer to be preventive, but sometimes that is not always an option. Most women leaders don’t quit until the job is done. Wise women are knowledge seekers, forever learners.
Women leaders enjoy good challenges – and seek to find meaning and purpose from each circumstance they face and opportunity they are given. They like to see and understand the connectivity. They want all the facts before making decisions. Competitiveness amongst themselves may often seek validation — an identity that matters and a voice that is heard. Successful, secure, mature women empower one another, yet they never rely on favors. Period. Women leaders earn respect and truly believe they can influence their own advancement by serving others — yes, by serving others. It is my belief that being personally fulfilled comes from living in service to others.
Collaborative team players — and often team leaders — they also seek to prove their value and self-worth by exceeding performance expectations — looking for respect more than recognition. Yep, the most successful women leaders don’t seek to become the star of the show — but they enable others to create a great show — influencing positive outcomes with maximum impact! That’s the ticket!
I will tell you this: Women understand survival, renewal, and reinvention. This woman most certainly personifies survival, renewal, and reinvention and I am not afraid to fight for what I believe in or stand for; doing more with less is simply a matter of knowing how to be strategic. Part of my strategy has been compassion. Yes, that’s right, compassion. Compassion as a strategy. Amazing concept, eh?
According to Glen Llopis, leadership expert: “Women often have strong leadership traits that go unnoticed or undervalued in a man’s world. Insecure people fear these traits, some being the following: 1. Opportunity-driven; 2. Strategic; 3. Passionate; 4. Entrepreneurial; 5. Purposeful and Meaningful; and 6. Traditions and Family”
Whether at home or at work, I am often the glue that keeps things together — ask James, ask Mike. I will take charge before circumstances force my hand and whether recognized for it or not, I give a good dose of preventive meds stat! All too often, Mike calls me in after someone else has waited too late to be as effective on an initiative or has gone too fast, too far down the wrong path, or is charged with a task they have no tools to complete, and so on. (sigh). My boys also know, women in general, are usually the ones to protect family — like a mama bear.
To the great women in my personal and professional life from New Orleans to Baton Rouge to Boston to London to Honolulu to the Bay Area, thank you for the opportunity to be inspired and mentored by your leadership (you know who you are). I’ve read many things about women in the workplace and their lack of advancement into senior executive roles and in the boardroom, and all I can say is “Women, next time any man tells you to calm down… DON’T KEEP CALM, GO CHANGE THE WORLD.”