Boss Lady

6 things women shouldn’t do if they want to be a top leader


Our current era has the highest-to-date level of acceptance of women leaders in society. However, there is still an obvious gender gap. Statistics in the S&P 500 companies shows that women comprise 44 percent of the total workforce, on average, yet only 25 percent of the senior leader roles. 6 things women shouldn’t do if they want to be a top leader 2The number of women leaders drops significantly in technology, science and industrial service industries.

If you desire is to be a top leader and to be your best professional self here are 6 Things you shouldn’t be doing:

Overly apologizing

Don’t believe you need to be quiet or less visible to make your intimidated male counterparts feel more comfortable. Stand tall and refuse to shrink in order to enhance another’s sense of importance. Indeed not everyone will like you and you are definitely not in a leadership position to win “miss congeniality.”  Stop unnecessarily apologizing. Leaders must be confident. If you keep second guessing yourself or are overly concerned about the opinion of others, you are not ready to fully take the reins.

“Women shouldn’t feel the need to apologize for who they are and the skills they bring to the table…Confidence  and embracing being women, rather than apologizing for being women  is what will help women rise to the next level and climb the corporate ladder.” ~Sabrina Parsons, CEO of Palo Alto Software

Adopting a persona that you think is necessary to achieve success

It’s important to be you. Don’t try to be someone you are not. It’s okay to show emotion and be vulnerable. You don’t have to be bossy or wear a tough image to be a leader. You can show empathy without being too sentimental. Be yourself. Authenticity acts as a catalyst that earns the respect of followers. Authenticity is critical when directing others since it builds trust, and followers love leaders they can trust. The more your team trust you, the easier they will follow your lead. In order to be an effective and influential leader today, one must begin by making an honest and authentic assessment of oneself (Kruse, 2013). Your female view is additive, and you have an opportunity to evocatively contribute to your company’s vision and goals. Don’t be afraid to share your unique perspective while being you.

“It is imperative that women in leadership maintain their intrinsic style, while not being afraid to stand their ground when they know they have the best idea or right path forward,” ~Madison Cork, founder and president of Cork Communications.

Overly Embracing the Democratic Leadership Style

Sometimes the need to fit in can cause women to always collaborate. Participation in decision encourages diverse opinions, helps a leader make better informed decisions and fosters employee commitment. However, if you keep depending on or continuously seeking advice from others before you make every decision you will seem weak. You will have to make some tough decisions on your own. To be a top leader you must have thick skin. Be assertive and decisive. You can do this job. You have the skills and talent and that is why you were chosen. Believe in yourself and stand firmly.

Failure to Support Other Women

To get to the top is easier if we work together as team. It’s not about competition or comparing yourself to other women. This is something I have seen a lot in the work force. If you are comfortable with who you are and have confidence in your abilities, it will be easy for you to embrace and support other female leaders.  Building networks can definitely assist in propelling you to the top. Cultivate as much information as possible from those who have been there and done that. Their advice is priceless and can help to teach you how to handle and overcome issues female leaders commonly face.

 Neglecting yourself

Take care of yourself. “I wish I could go back and tell myself, Arianna, your performance will actually improve if you can commit to not only working hard, but also unplugging, recharging, and renewing yourself.” ~Arianna Huffington. Ultimately your well-being is very important to your overall success as a leader. Unless you are healthy you cannot lead your team with vitality and vigour. It’s important to take care of your health. Exercise, eat healthy and get adequate rest. This will help you deal properly with stressful situations. Energy to effectively get the job done comes from a healthy mental and physical state. Only when you take care of yourself you can enjoy the fruits of your leadership.

Succumbing to the narrative about work-life balance and assuming you can’t have a family and career

It is not wise to define success solely in terms of business and work. Sometimes women may try to overcompensate so may hold back on making personal family decisions. Say yes to your goals, and honour yourself and wishes in the process. Don’t give up on something you want for a short term gain. Yes, you can have your cake and eat it. If you need advice in balancing both seek out mentors and supportive groups. I have met many women who wished they could go back and change the hands of time but unfortunately they can’t.  Yes accomplishing the organization’s goals is important but what about your personal goals?

It is not a weakness to be a woman but it’s a gift so embrace you. If you want to go to the top, you must be confident and believe in yourself. Yes, we can’t pretend the gender issue doesn’t exist, but that is not our main focus.  We should focus on making a valuable contribution, taking care of our employees and in the process staying true to ourselves.

About Brigette Hyacinth

Brigette Hyacinth is a leadership expert and motivational speaker. She is the author of “The Edge of Leadership: A Leader’s Handbook for Success.” She is the Founder of MBA Caribbean Organisation which specializes in seminars and workshops in leadership, management and education. She provides consultancy and training services to many prominent companies both in the private and government sector. She is also a Director of HAIT&T Foundation, whose main focus is the rebuilding of the La Madeleine Orphanage which was destroyed in the 2010 Haiti earthquake. An internationally acclaimed leadership guru with a Master’s degree in Business administration, Brigette is sought out by CEOs all over the world for her leadership insights. She has provided one on one coaching sessions to many top level executives around the globe. Additionally, she is also a ghost writer and some of her clientele have involved famous business leaders.

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