I am passionate about helping women find their authentic voice and take on leadership positions in workplaces and the community. I know firsthand the decades it took for me to uncover the things I truly valued and stand for and then to build my life, behaviours and work around it. It's taken a lot of mistakes, failures, bucking of patriarchal norms and facing into fears to get here. I'm unapologetic for wanting to take a seat at the leadership table, asserting my right to do so and having something meaningful to offer those willing to listen. I also listen a lot to others to try and understand culture, both men and women and the challenges we all face in 2020 and beyond.
For many years I have been working with both men and women in leadership coaching and learned a lot from the different approaches and challenges the genders face either at work or on the home front and it's complex. It's also interesting how leaders work through these challenges in groups and in their relationships together. Authentic leadership coaching is all about developing real leaders, it's underpinned by science and is emerging as the new approach to leadership in our changing landscape. Authentic leaders know who they are, what they believe in and act on those beliefs opening and candidly. I've found mindfulness aligns beautifully with authentic leadership coaching and is a practice that can really help you become more aware and organise yourself in a way that can build your confidence to act on your values and develop your own personal style and ethics. For me that means being able to use my character strengths of creativity, perspective and curiosity but also being active in the pursuit of things I really care about like women's empowerment, social justice and environmental sustainability.
"Soften without losing your power"
What does it mean to be a woman in leadership? One thing is for certain, any leadership environment that does not have the presence of women is lacking in diversity and not able to truly represent humanity as a whole and this works both ways. I am not a man hater or someone who wants to shame and blame men; in fact some of my closest relationships are with men and I work with both men and women in leadership coaching and have learned great things from great men. I think for women to lead with authenticity there needs to be some changes particularly in patriarchal systems- these changes are well underway in many organisations thanks to some good men and women in leadership. We can't expect women to be men and fill their shoes in the role of leadership but they need to discover their own energy and authentic style of leadership. Women need to bring their own voices and be agents in leading equality and systemic change. Thankfully we have great female role models to aspire to, learn from and model now. I believe it is really important for women to be whole and by doing so bring more balance to what it means to be a leader of any gender in todays communities, workplaces and organisations.
What are some of the global challenges in the leadership landscape?
• Balancing economic and environmental commitments
• Balancing global trends with locally grown initiatives
• Guiding through complex changes
• Bringing more vulnerability, transparency, care and compassion to the leadership table
• Managing the conditions of politics and power in relationships of equality between men and women
• Inspiring and empowering others to act ethically, socially responsible and inclusively
• Developing the nessasry skills for your workforce to be relevant in the future
• Balancing and being present for both personal & professional life
• Valuing gender diversity financially
What can help empower your leadership?
• Being self-aware and having clarity about your values and aligning them with your behaviours, priorities and preferences
• Having a big vision for your life and setting SMART goals to achieve shorter term goals. Including timelines and deadlines for activities, keeping distractions in check and holding yourself and others accountable.
• Addressing the need to empower your own authentic leadership style and not suppressing yourself in male-orientated organisations
• Empowering others to navigate challenges and perform at their best for the greater good of the organisation. Effectively delegating the workload for high productivity and career development opportunity for your cohort.
• Understand your personal brand, talents and strengths and ensure your role plays to it so you can maximise your potential to contribute unique value to the organisation.
• Outline the core responsibilities of your role and prioritise them. Understand the secondary responsibilities and what belongs to other people so your time is impactful and intentional. Practice saying no respectfully to diversions and staying focussed on the leadership pathway.
"Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen."-Brené Brown
Becoming an authentic leader is a pathway that is always evolving and for women there has never been a better time to stand up and contribute equally along side men to create a better world for us all. As we face more and more urgent challenges in working and at home in our environment we must be willing to do things differently and stay connected to the reasons we do what we do. With this in mind women have a role to play in balancing the leadership landscape just as men do at home. All good leaders have support and if you're interested in developing your career and leadership then the 8-week leadership coaching might be just what you're looking for. Learn more about it here.