Leadership Traits of Women and the Qualities That Make Them Excellent Leaders

Conversation about leadership traits can be dangerous because it presumes that people possess inherent and immutable personality traits that make them leaders. I strongly disagree with that view because I believe that anyone can learn attitudes, skills and behaviors that make them a leader in their unique ways. In addition, nobody is a leader by themselves. The time for a lone hero leader is gone. Leaders emerge in team or group environments, and as such leadership can shift from person to person and even evolve into co-leadership. However, the popular magazines among leaders and leader-wannabes regularly publish lists about the three, five or seven traits that make a leader. Obviously, there continues to be a yearning to know what qualities one has to groom in order to become an effective leader.

As the conversation about women as leaders has exploded, the interest in what makes an effective female leader has also become popular. Often the results of studies in which a handful of successful women have been interviewed are reported in popular literature with generalizations about the leadership traits of women. Again, dangerous ground. Generalizations that are based on stereotypes are a way for us to categorize things we don’t understand. This kind of a meaning making mechanism simplifies matters and makes things seem black and white. The more we understand, the more shades of all kinds of colors we’ll find.Leadership Traits of Women and the Qualities That Make Them Excellent Leaders

Continue reading Leadership Traits of Women and the Qualities That Make Them Excellent Leaders

How to Prepare Leaders for Your Business

As your company grows, you need to grow your people, too. If you have been investing in developing your subject matter experts or people with a special skill set within the company, they will be ready to step into new, expanded responsibilities of a manager. There are many good reasons to promote from within rather than go hunting from the outside. The transition is usually smoother because the internal experts already know the product, people, procedures and performance expectations. They have tacit knowledge about how things are done, how the organization is structured and how people are expected to behave.

Every time you hire a new person, it is a strategic decision. You should hire them with your eye for the long-term; what future positions can they grow into as your company grows? Groom the future leaders now. This grooming means that you must invest in mentoring, coaching and training them. Without a continuous development plan for your employees, you cannot expect your employees to become superhero supervisors over night. If you do, you set them up for failure. And that will cost you time, money and relationships.How to Prepare Leaders for Your Business

Continue reading How to Prepare Leaders for Your Business

Getting Noticed: Another Key to Gaining That Leadership Position

Moving up the management ladder takes more than hard work. Those who put in the endless hours can find themselves frustrated as find themselves skipped over come promotion time. While it is safe to assume that hard work does get noticed, it’s those who stand out that get promoted. Women know this very well – because “if workplaces were like school, women would run the world”. Getting noticed and promoted takes more than being a diligent, “good girl or boy”.

In order to stand out among your peers you need to know how you are perceived by others and of your impact on others. Who is paying attention to you and why? Stand out by being outstanding. The better you know your strengths and weaknesses, the better chances you have to focus your strengths and move ahead to a leadership role.Getting Noticed Another Key to Gaining That Leadership Position

Continue reading Getting Noticed: Another Key to Gaining That Leadership Position

Equality in the Boardroom: Why Female Leaders are Good for Society and Business

Companies that fail to invest in their female populations are underinvesting in the human capital needed to assure sustainability. While women around the world account for more than half of the talent, as a group, they remain marginalized with their social, economic and environmental contributions unrealized.

Female participation in the labor force is on the rise. In OECD countries, on average, only 60% of women are employed but in Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Sweden and Denmark, women already make up more than 70% of the workforce. Finland has the highest number of women in full-time employment, 84 % of total female employment. However, the pay gap remains even there. While Finnish women earn 19% less than male wage earners, the wage gap in Norway and New Zealand is 6%. On average, women around the world still earn 18% less than men performing the same job.Equality in the Boardroom Why Female Leaders are Good for Society and Business

Continue reading Equality in the Boardroom: Why Female Leaders are Good for Society and Business

A Great Leader Versus An Average Leader: Which Are You?

Watching charismatic leaders at work can make one wonder whether such leaders are natural born leaders or if there is a secret formula to be learned to being an effective leader. While there aren’t any real secrets to being an effective leader, there are, however, capabilities that differentiate a great leader from an average leader. These capabilities mixed with experience, hard work, resiliency and a little bit of luck can make a unique and powerful leader.

Perhaps you know some people who have hit their leader stride early in their careers while others find their path a little later in life. It’s also likely that you know people who just simply never seem to get their leadership footing. The differences in these leadership levels are often character related. Here are a few of the characteristics that differentiate average leaders from great leaders.A Great Leader Versus an Average Leader Which are you
Continue reading A Great Leader Versus An Average Leader: Which Are You?

Random Acts of Appreciation

Yesterday I received an unexpected, wonderful acknowledgment from a long-time client. I’ve never met her in person but I’ve coached her over the phone for several years. I’ve had the privilege to support her through numerous ups and downs, anxieties and achievements of professional and personal growth. She sent me a lovely little book for inspiration and a beautiful handwritten card in which she says: “Thank you for being such an inspirational coach for me. I hope you know what a gift you have been in my life. Your intuition, generosity and compassion have created an empowering and engaging coaching alliance which I love. My heartfelt thanks and gratitude go out to you!”  This appreciation was a surprise and moved me to tears as I felt very humble in receiving it.

While my heart was filling with a warm sense of gratitude, I began to feel another sensation as well: doubt. Is she writing to me because she wants to end our relationship? Thankyoucard.web Continue reading Random Acts of Appreciation

The Secret Formula for Creating Trust

Studies show that it is more worthwhile to develop your strengths than your weaknesses. So, if we women already excel at friendship-making – let’s develop that capability to the level of mastery! It will serve us well when the goal is to develop a culture of collaboration.

Men, listen up: here is your chance to learn the secret formula about how women – and not surprisingly, the best leaders of either gender – communicate in order to create connectivity that results in trust and friendship. Amal&Kristiina.web Continue reading The Secret Formula for Creating Trust

Three Challenging Aspects of Collaboration

This blog post expands on my points about collaboration in my talk at the Singapore Management University in March 2014.

If leaders were skilled at collaboration, we’d see more resource sharing, innovation, better leadership, more inspiration, and the human capacity would expand. This would benefit the world – men and women alike. Often, however, women are considered better collaborators than men. Frequently we read about women’s more collaborative approach to leadership, and this is great. We should not take this observation for granted, though. I’d like to assert that what we mean by “women’s collaboration” is often confused with women’s capability to make friends, not actual collaboration.knots-and-hands.web

One of the reasons for women to lean into friendship-making more than collaboration may be the short history of women in the business world as leaders. Women have gained practice in working Continue reading Three Challenging Aspects of Collaboration

Why The Heck Is Collaboration So Hard?

This blog post expands on one of my points of my talk at the Singapore Management University earlier in March 2014.

When I’m working with managers on their development as leaders, the challenge of collaboration comes up frequently. It has made me think about this age-old question: Why the heck is collaboration so hard? I want to take a closer look at the concept of Collaborative Leadership for a couple of reasons: first, the research that I have done in this area supports an interactive course in Collaborative Leadership I’m currently teaching at the Bellevue College and second, it is often considered to be a representation of the feminine way to lead.

While most companies proclaim “collaboration” as one of their values, I believe it is one of the most misunderstood and underutilized concepts of our time. Many react to the word emotionally: some even consider it a waste of time, a feel-good “kumbaya” circle that is an ineffective way to produce results. However, if we took a closer look at what “collaboration” actually requires, we might conclude that it is hardcore stuff that has bottom-line effects. Continue reading Why The Heck Is Collaboration So Hard?