Women Leadership In The Workplace
Women leadership in the workplace is critical for a company’s success. According to research, 87% of the top 500 companies last year led by a woman decision-maker reported above-average profits, compared to just 78% of companies without a woman CEO. The research shows, women in leadership roles are vital in the workplace.
Our CEO and Founder, Jessica Chen, recently hosted a Soulcast Media | LIVE event on LinkedIn, where she interviewed the CEO of the Chinese Hospital System, Dr. Jian Zhang, and Attorney at Bartko Zankel Bunzel and Miller, An Nguyen Ruda. They shared tips and personal stories about women leadership in the workplace.
1. Clear Communication
During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, both Dr. Jian and An agreed, knowing what we want and having a clear understanding of the direction we want to go, will help us in our careers. The key is being very clear in our communication with ourselves and others.
Consider the following:
- Strategic Decisions – When we are clear about what direction we want to take, we can make strategic decisions to get there. This means clearly communicating to ourselves and others what we want. For example, if we want to make partner at a law firm, we must first create a plan for ourselves. Once we are clear in our paths, we can communicate our plans with others. We can then evaluate each opportunity and strategically decide whether it will help us get to where we want to go.
- Straightforward Questions – During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, the audience asked what to do if our ideas were shot down during a meeting. If this happens, we need to communicate clearly when talking about our ideas and ask pointed questions as to why our ideas weren’t accepted. For example, we can ask, “Is there a reason you didn’t like our ideas?” Or, “What feedback would you give us about our ideas?” When we are clear in our questions, we can tailor the message about our ideas.
- Confidence – Our communication needs to be clear and confident. This means using confident body language and removing any mental barriers. For example, we can use confident body language by sitting or standing up straight with our shoulders back. Keep our heads up and make eye contact with the people with whom we are speaking. The more confident we feel, the clearer our communication will be.
Being able to speak clearly, confidently, and concisely, are is critical to career success.
During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Jessica asked how Dr. Jian and An made their way to being leaders in the workplace. Both of them agreed that finding a mentor and learning to advocate will help advance our careers.
Consider the following:
- Finding A Mentor – Finding a mentor is one of the biggest things we can do to advance our careers. However, it is important for us not to have any preconceived notions of what our mentor has to be. For example, during the Souclast Media | LIVE, An said her very first mentor was not a woman or person of color. However, her first mentor was open to giving her support and opportunities. An said it is very important to be attuned to those who will hear what we have to say and help us.
- Our Circle – Surrounding ourselves with a circle of people who support us and give us opportunities is critical for career success. For example, if we are in a group of people who want to see us succeed, whenever an opportunity arises, they will tell us about it and get us connected to the right person. On the other hand, if we are surrounded by a group of people who are only out for themselves, we may never hear about an opportunity because they do not want to see anyone else succeed. We need to be very mindful of the people we surround ourselves with.
- Advocate – Having a mentor and a group of people who support us and advocate for us is critical, but we will also need to advocate for ourselves. This means making sure we are speaking up when we need to and volunteering for projects. For example, if we have a mentor, we can tell them, “We’d like to run a campaign for a client this year,” or “We want to take a deposition this year.” If we don’t have a mentor, we can begin by speaking up during meetings, and giving ourselves a voice.
Surrounding ourselves with inspiring people and advocates who want to see us succeed is critical for career success.
3. Leadership Mentality
To rise to leadership positions, we must adopt a leadership mentality. As leaders, we need different mindsets than someone who is not looking for or in a leadership position. In fact, we will need to adapt quickly to every situation as they arise.
Consider the following:
- Difficult Tasks – When we adopt a leadership mentality, we know we can’t take the easy way out. Instead, we have to do all of the things that make us uncomfortable. During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, An said, “If something makes us uncomfortable, don’t go around it, don’t go over it, go through it.” For example, if we need to have a tricky conversation with someone, a leader would show up to the conversation prepared and ready to come to a resolution. Adopting a leadership mentality will help us navigate difficult tasks.
- Diversify Ourselves– If we want to be a leader, we must wear many hats. Diversifying our skillsets will help us transition into roles that can give us more opportunities. For example, if we work for a small company, you may find ourselves doing admin, social media, and sales work. We may not want to continue with all three, but by learning the ins and outs, we give ourselves an advantage over someone who only knows how to make sales. A good leader needs to have a broad range of knowledge when leading a team or company.
- Use Our Differences – We can use our differences as advantages rather than limitations. For example, we may be the only woman sitting at the table, but we can use this to our advantage as our perspectives and opinions are much different than the other people sitting at the table. Think about our differences as our superpowers rather than our kryptonite.
Adopting a leadership mentality will help us look at our career decisions differently and give us an advantage as we progress.
Women leadership in the workplace is critical for any company’s success. Learning clear communication, finding a mentor, and adopting a leadership mentality are all ways we can help ourselves get into a leadership position.
If you want to see the full LIVE version of Jessica, Dr. Jian, and An’s conversation, check out Jessica’s Youtube Channel.
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