Feminine Leadership Potholes (part 1)

I think the dark ages of discrimination are over. Bygones are bygones and to a certain extent, I believe those painful experiences are behind us.  It is evident that women continually find themselves in positions of influence. These positions come with great responsibilities. Responsibilities always come with great demands for quality leadership competencies.

Although women are now free to resume these high responsibility roles in leadership, one will appreciate that there are potholes that women leaders must be aware of. Many roads have potholes and so is the leadership road. If you know where the potholes are, you are more likely able to make a plan to avoid them.

Allow me to take you through these potholes. At some point in your leadership journey, you may have probably hit some!

  1. 1.      Aggressiveness

I am amazed by the level of aggression that some women leaders have. It is as if to be a good and strong leader you need to be aggressive. Often, I realized that aggression is not good for any leader (male or female). People turn to lose faith in you. Respect decreases and you will have to work twice as much to gain it back again.

To avoid this pothole, take an approach of a facilitator, you will not go wrong. You will be amazed at the speed in which you achieve your goals if you lead through facilitation.

  1. 2.      Approachability

There is no need to put on a mask and become very serious because you want people to value you and respect you as a great leader. Being a female leader does not mean that you have to look down at yourself and pull a mask so you can be valued for your leadership skills. If you are very serious, you make people be afraid of you. People must not be afraid of you. They must respect you. Respect is earned. Work for it. The team that you lead needs someone they feel comfortable opening up to. If you are not approachable, you may find yourself travelling the road alone. You think you have followers only to find they only follow because they do not have a choice. John Maxwell advises that you should look behind you. If no one is following, then you are just taking a walk!

To avoid this pothole, be open and approachable in nature.

  1. 3.      Lack of Empowerment

Many leaders do not empower their followers. Fear gets hold of them. Fear or rather insecurity. Some are insecured about the fact that when they empower their people, they will turn out being better than them. I have learnt the secret of growth. Let me share this with you. The more information you give the more information you get. It is the same principle of giving. Give and it shall be given back to you. Good measure, pressed down and shaken together shall men give unto your bosom. An effective leader is one who has learnt the art of empowering each individual team member to deliver quality results. Good leaders understand that team work is very powerful and they embrace its value.

It is a grave mistake to try and take up the all the burden to yourself as a leader. Many female leaders tend to do this in the quest to prove themselves. Rest assured, you are doing nothing but setting yourself up for failure.

To avoid this pothole, embrace the spirit of team work. Empower yourself continually so you can empower others without fear. Leaders are readers and researchers. If you do not this, you will find yourself being threatened by your subordinates even if they have nothing to make you feel insecured about.  Avoid stagnation. Embrace the spirit of growth. Rather prefer not to have the same level of knowledge throughout. Seek knowledge. Only leaders who have stagnated are threatened by their followers.  Nobody stops you from getting knowledge, wisdom and understanding.   

  1. 4.      Avoiding team thinking and brainstorming.

I have noticed the power of team brainstorming. Your team has bright ideas. The power of this is that when you have allowed your team to rainstorm together with you, they are more likely to own the concept. Avoiding group think can be a serious pothole. It does not encourage your team to have a sense of ownership and run with the idea. The team might lose morale and motivation.

Team brainstorming is when a group of people bring their heads and numbers together to interrogate and unpack a concept. You will be amazed at how your thought turned out into a beautiful and great idea because of group think. Someone once said,” five heads are better than one”.

To avoid this pothole, do not try to keep your team under control by avoiding team thinking and brainstorming. Stifling it, is stifling creativity and innovation.

Always make an introspection. Be on the lookout for these potholes and find ways to avoid them!


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