Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg’s 2013 book “Lean In” attracted attention with its views of female leaders in a male-dominated business hierarchy. Forbes contributor Susan Adams believes that Sandberg was on target with many leadership points.
Over the past decade, an increase in female business leaders, combined with media focus on their existence, has invited conversation on the issue of the effectiveness of female bosses. But individuals like Roxane Gay, writing on behalf of Fortune magazine, believe that women don’t need to lead like men to be successful. What then can be done to help women advance in their careers without sacrificing their strengths?
Create an Enduring Company Culture
As a leader, fostering a sense of community is important, but a great leader realizes that healthy, enduring company cultures are formed by design rather than default.
According to Kevin Daum, contributor to Inc. magazine, effective leadership creates a culture that attracts the people who are going to contribute positively to a company while safeguarding against hires that detract from a company’s professional advancements. Daum further cites fostering creative thinking, encouraging open communication, and shaping responsibility for roles and actions as ways to create an enduring company culture.
Don’t Second-Guess Yourself
In an interview with The Economic Times, Padmasree Warrior, Chief Technology Officer and Chief Strategy Officer of Cisco, says that women need to be encouraged to be confident in their career aspirations. “Women have a tendency to second-guess themselves,” she says. “They have to exude confidence and people have to see that.”
She adds that being authentic and true to you is important for both women in leadership positions and those aspiring to become leaders.
Encourage Mindful Engagement
It’s important for women to know where to turn to for resources that can help them further their careers. Some may not even know which resources are available to them. To be successful, women must be aware of educational opportunities, such as MBA-degree programs, in their area or industry.
Women’s leadership coach and cognitive behavioral therapist Homaira Kabir likens the manager and leader role to that of an orchestra conductor. She advises leaders to value each person’s contributions and help individuals maximize their potential, connecting them with ways to bring out their best.
By fostering a business environment that invites and involves women in business to gain respect and to feel valued for their contributions, leaders and managers can work to overcome the roadblocks on the way toward building fulfilling careers.
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