Driven women are not always sure what do when in the driver’s seat. Even with hard work, experience, and determination, women often find themselves striving for more, but not always sure how to achieve their next-level goals, or even, ask for them. Start unapologetically taking the lead and achieve your goals with these five starter tips.
Lead by staying out of the weeds. You grow as an individual contributor and technical expert to a manager, to a leader. Along the way you learn to empower others to allow you to lead at the 30,000-foot level. Although you have expertise and knowledge, you no longer need to execute the details. Or, as my daughter says, lead by being a flower in a pile of weeds.
Lead by keeping your emotions in check. As a leader of a team, group, organization, you are on display. Whether you like it or not. Others look to you for your reaction and response. You may be frustrated by a client, vendor, or customer, yet you can’t express that publicly. Find a trusted advisor, externally or internally, to share your frustrations, so that you are composed and professional in front of your team. I am not suggesting you be stoic or unemotional, yet be professional.
Lead by giving feedback. Give honest and specific feedback to encourage your colleagues and direct reports to continue producing in an effective and positive manner. Specific feedback includes examples of when a behavior was demonstrated. Ask for feedback and be willing to make a change in response.
Lead by owning your contributions. You have experience. Own it. You are competent. Own that. Deliver your thoughts and opinions with confidence and conviction.
Lead by contributing your unique ideas and perspective. What are your unique contributions to a conversation? What experience is different than others? Even if unpopular, share your perspective. (Yikes! Did you just cringe when you read that?) Especially if it is the unique piece of information in the room. Don’t lead by being a yes-woman.
If at any point while reading this, you cringed, or the thought came by that you can’t, shouldn’t, don’t know how…then now is the time to join the Women’s Catalyst Network. The Network is a leadership development program for professional women who are managing people or projects. In a safe environment, participants learn new skills (which they were never taught in school), learn from and with peers, and gain insights from the only female-male executive coach lead development program. In return, their careers excel while they are in the driver’s seat.