In every sector, female leaders often lead differently than their male counterparts. While this is not a bad thing because leadership styles differ, female leaders sometimes do not get what they need from their subordinates because of certain leadership styles. However, it is important to note that there are effective female leaders with leadership styles that are a far cry from the way men lead. In exploring leadership lessons women can learn from men, we are not saying that men know it all and have all the answers; rather we are saying that every opportunity for introspection is needed and should be grabbed with both hands.
The Catalyst’s Global statistics published earlier this year says that “In 2019, the proportion of women in senior management roles globally grew to 29%, the highest number ever recorded. In 2020, this percentage remained the same. Eighty-seven percent of global mid-market companies had at least one woman in a senior management role in 2020”. While women leaders have been and continue to be effective, fewer women hold leadership roles in organizations.
How then can more women learn leadership from men? Here are a few powerful lessons in leadership from women who learned them from men:
Picture this; you’ve finally got your promotion or you are the CEO of your own company. You’ve made it this far. You are sitting at your desk in your corner office, sipping your morning tea. You have now come into your full position. You revel in your achievements. When you are in a position of power, take charge of the position. Oftentimes women in executive positions don’t want to be seen as pushy or aggressive, or even bossy. These are attributes that nobody criticizes in men. Women should learn to be comfortable in their positions of power. Dear woman, enjoy being the boss, you’ve earned it.
2. Take the lead
Do not wait to be asked before you volunteer for responsibility, provided you can handle it. Men are usually more vocal about what they want and they usually step up when they want a position or responsibility. The same should go for women. When you are in a work situation that is uncomfortable, speak up. When you are in a position and you decide that you want a promotion, speak up. You cannot sit on your hands and expect anything to happen for you. Also, create situations where you can lead and be visible doing it. Whenever you arrive at a situation or in a place where things aren’t running smoothly, step up and make the difference that is needed. Volunteer, speak up and take the lead, you will be more visible and be marked for excellence.
3. Make decisions quickly
As a leader, you need to understand that you can only think about the decision you want to make for 30% of the time because your staff needs to run with it for 70%. Male leaders are usually quicker at making decisions whereas female leaders take longer. But a bad decision is always a bad decision no matter how long it takes to make it. Therefore, as a leader, you should take charge and make decisions faster. And if the decision was not a great one, then you can work on your decision-making skills to make better ones in the future.
Have you noticed that when male leaders walk into a room, they are almost surrounded by people, or they move from group to group and most people know them and they will speak as though they were friendly?Network like your life depends on it. Talk to people; talk about your business, work, where you work, what you do etc. It is important as a female leader that you should network.
5. Don’t discount your abilities
Women always discount their own abilities. It is what prevents them sometimes from applying for the jobs they wanted or the salaries they prefer. It is also okay when you have a difference in opinion or when you are doing something in a way that isn’t in the norm. The best-run organizations are run on the diversity of thought. Be creative.
6. Engage with male leaders
In your networking endeavours, ensure that you engage with male leaders. Keep your conversations simple, civil and respectful. Also, ask them for their advice. More and more men have held leadership positions much longer than women, therefore, sometimes they have more insight in doing certain things. There is as well the conversation of the male ego. Asking a man for help boosts their feeling of power. Many men still don’t naturally reach out to females in business so we need to take the lead.
7. Be confident
Why shouldn’t you be? Being a leader as a woman is no mean feat, therefore walk into a room, address people and even speak your opinion exuding confidence from every pore. Build your confidence every day. And if you aren’t normally a confident person, fake it till you make it. Meet people’s eyes, have a nice confident handshake, and smile.
Achieving leadership as a woman is something every woman should aspire to. Gain the respect you want by working hard towards your goals and everyone will follow. Learn as much as you can from everyone around you, men or women. Boosting your confidence and not discounting your abilities are important as they will set the tone for how people will treat you as a leader.
Which point did you like the most? Tell us in the comments. Share this post with your friends who are leaders or aspire to be.