Women have come a long way in recent years. It is hard to imagine that just a half a century ago, women in many countries around the world were not allowed to vote or hold public office. France and Switzerland only gave the right to suffrage to women as recently as 1944 and 1971, respectively. Women have continuously encountered a glass ceiling in many aspects of their lives, most often in their careers.
However, this is slowly changing. From being expected to stay at home and take care of the children, more and more women around the world have risen in the corporate ranks, becoming CEOs of multinational corporations. Women are also becoming more and more prominent in politics, science, and technology.
The world is finally opening up to all genders; and as such, women are finding themselves either wanting or being in leadership positions. While success as a leader is not gender specific, it still requires a lot of work and training. Here are five characteristics that you should have in order to be a successful leader.
1. Be Courageous
The corporate world may be mainly male dominated, but don’t let the testosterone pull you down. If you want to be a leader, you have to be fearless. Being a leader isn’t easy. You have to be ready to do things that are out of your comfort zone. This is also a great opportunity to ask yourself what you are willing to do and/or sacrifice in order to reach your goal.
Being courageous isn’t about just blindly going forward, but it’s also about knowing the possible difficulties you may face and accepting the challenge. It is also important to have self-confidence, as people will have a hard time putting their trust into someone who doesn’t believe in themselves.
2. Have a Good Sense of Humor
Having a good sense of humor can help you stay level-headed and positive, and it will help you keep your team inspired, even in the worst situations. As a leader, you should consider yourself as your team’s pillar of support. If you crack under pressure, it is most likely that your team will follow suit.
Since being a leader has many tasks and responsibilities, having a good sense of humor will also help you keep your sanity intact. It can help you be likeable and approachable as well. Jokes and banter can help break the ice in the workplace, but always remember that jokes should be appropriate at all times.
3. Know Your Strengths And Your Weaknesses
Being a good leader includes being knowledgeable. As a woman, it is possible that people will be more critical of what you do. However, you can turn being self-aware to your advantage and use it to evaluate yourself.
Ask yourself: what are you good at? Build yourself on these strengths. What are you bad at? Either improve on these, or get someone you trust who can be good at it for you. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses also includes knowing your team members’ strengths and weaknesses. It is important to know what you can and cannot do, as an individual or as a team.
4. Assume Full Responsibility
As the leader, you must be ready to accept your failure if your team fails. However, if your team succeeds, you must also be ready to share this success with them. By assuming full responsibility for the actions of your followers, you can actively pinpoint what needs to be improved or changed to learn from mistakes, or conversely, what needs to be done for continuous success.
5. Have a Personal Touch
Having friendly relationships with your colleagues is important for any leader. It is a great way to connect with others and help maintain a healthy work environment. However, it is important to remember to keep relationships professional, with both men and women. Be sure not to alienate anyone in your workplace or team. Some women make the mistake of specifically befriending certain people or genders in order to go up the ladder faster. Gossip and personal issues shouldn’t have a place in the workplace.
There are many different styles in leadership. Often, leadership in the workplace varies depending on the type of industry and the culture of the people working there. Men and women are also said to have different leadership styles. Men are often expected to be more assertive and task oriented, while women are expected to be more nurturing and understanding. However, successful leadership requires characteristics that transcend gender. No matter what your gender may be, these qualities can help you become a successful leader.
About the Author
Lionel Luigi Lopez is a business writer and entrepreneur.