Hello - Hope all is well in your life and work.
This year, I've immersed myself in the process of understanding all I can about what makes a truly great leader in the business world.
I've explored the current research and thinking about women's leadership styles and approaches versus men's, and I've compared what others are saying to my own experiences and research with women in business leadership positions.
While there has been much written and researched around the critical need for a higher representation of women in senior leadership in corporate America, progress has been slow, and we're behind many other countries in this regard. I'm committed to making a difference on this front.
Towards that end, I'm focusing a good deal of my time now on helping women grow their leadership capabilities and reach their highest potential as leaders and managers.
If you're a woman in business and want to step up to your full leadership potential and capability, I hope you'll reach out. I'd love to help you shape your career and role so you may contribute at the highest level you desire.
So, What Makes a Great Leader?
From where I sit today, great leadership is comprised of these seven behavioral traits:
1) Embodies the way - She thinks, acts and behaves in ways that are congruent to what she holds to be true and valuable, in her company and in her world. She is a role model in every way for what she stands for and what she espouses.
2) Inspires a shared vision - She envisions what is possible for the future, and infuses tremendous positive spirit and energy into that vision, allowing everyone who interacts with her a window into what is possible through collaboration, cooperation and contribution.
3) Challenges content and process - She understands that adhering to the status quo and accepting things as they are is not the pathway to change and growth. She uncovers new (yet unthreatening) ways of thinking, being, and doing - and encourages others to do the same -- in both "content" and "process." These new ways allow for greater expansion and success.
4) Empowers others - She invests time, energy and commitment in empowering and engaging others, building their self-reliance, independence and growth as individuals and as collaborators.
5) Integrates the whole - She understands that when people bring their whole selves to a task, and when unity can be achieved rather than compartmentalization, the outcome is much greater than the sum of the parts. She is an integrated individual herself, and fosters integration and wholeness in others and throughout the organization.
6) Supports inclusion over hierarchy - She operates under the belief that inclusion is preferred over exclusion, and centrality is preferred over hierarchy. She doesn't long to sit alone at the top. Instead, she wants to be in the center (in other words, at the heart) of a large and effective web of inclusion that does what it sets out to do, with ease, clarity, grace, and focus (for more on the web of inclusion, see Sally Helgesen's The Web of Inclusion and The Female Advantage)
7) Fosters the heart and spirit - Finally, she creates a supportive, healthy environment that allows all those involved to behave, think, and perform from a heart-based place, where they can feel and experience themselves as personally and professionally aligned. She shapes an organization in which there is a solid common ground between what the individual wants and what the company wants from the individual.
(For an in-depth exploration of several of the above concepts, I recommend checking out The Leadership Challenge, by Kouzes and Posner. The above incorporates my female perspective on some of its teachings.)
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In the end, the great visionary leader knows that the best and most effective organizations foster individuals' natural talents, growth, strength, and self-reliance. They nurture employees' ability to connect to who they truly are.
In my lifetime, I've had the chance to serve under only a very small number of great leaders. But I know this to be true - when you do, it can be a life-changing experience.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on the above. Does your view of great leadership match mine? Have you directly experienced any great leaders, and what did they teach you?
And how do you think men and women differ in their business leadership style and approach?
Please share your comments on my blog here. Thanks for commenting!
I'm looking forward to being of service to you soon. Until then, wishing you many happy breakthroughs,
P.S. A FREE gift for you - Download my FREE Professional Breakthrough Toolkit to get you started toward breakthrough in your career and business.
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