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Lead Like a Woman – 5 Traits & Habits of Successful Female Leaders

On07/ 03 /19
Michelle Obama, Margaret Thatcher, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II… Do you know what all those distinguished women have in common? They are (or were) leaders. 

Inspiring women around the world, female front runners have more power than ever. This is predominantly because of their growing self-confidence and some major progress in society, which heavily influenced the way we perceive women and their role in shaping successful communities and nations. 

As more and more women are no longer afraid of sharing their views and opinions, they are also becoming experts in the industries they work for. The HR industry has observed this major shift in work environments, with a larger proportion of female leaders joining UK boards than ever before. 

According to a study published by Catalyst last year, the number of women holding a board role within one of The Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 companies (FTSE 100) has increased from 11% to 28% in ten years. 

Additionally, over one-third of legislators, senior officials and managers are female, which means that women have finally begun to break through the ‘glass ceiling’; holding senior roles at many large corporations worldwide. 

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2019, we have put together a checklist of the most common traits and habits every successful manager should have. 

1. They have a hunger for knowledge

The power of curiosity is an essential trait in any successful leader. 

Whenever you are looking to develop your existing knowledge or learn something utterly new, satisfying your intellectual hunger should play a critical role in both your personal and professional development. 

This is especially true as continuous motivation to learn and discover will not only allow you to enjoy your role for longer but will also grow your expertise and open more doors for exciting opportunities that are out there. 

2. They have the ability to overcome self-doubt  

What seems to often differentiate female leaders from their male counterparts is the fact they’re more likely to be prone to self-doubt. 

“Am I the right person for this role?” “Shall I ask for a pay rise?” – it’s been widely documented over recent years that women are less likely to ask for things at work, compared to men - particularly when it comes to promotions and increases in salary. This can hold back a number of women in the business world. 

To overcome self-doubt and close the confidence gap, successful female leaders advise that we forget the biological gender, and think of yourself as equal when it comes to your male co-workers. 

3. They can step outside of their comfort zone

Whilst performing the role of an assistant to your male boss can be a great way to start a career, those who end up at the top are the ones who ‘take the reigns’ and look for new opportunities and ways to develop.  

It’s crucial to identify any skill gaps you might have, and then try your hardest to work to improve them. You could sign yourself up for a specialist course to help grow or nurture your skills and/or gain a new qualification.  You can of course probably learn a lot from your current colleagues or managers too. 

For some, learning new things and working on different tasks can be a bit of a challenge, and will mean they’re out of their comfort zone for a while, but the best thing to remember is that you’re doing it for yourself and no one else!

It’s those who can push themselves (in a healthy, constructive way) in their career who generally stand the most chance of getting higher up the ladder…

4. They are usually prepared to take risks

Women tend to be more cautious when it comes to taking risks, even in the context of somewhat minor change such as changing a job. 

According to Charlotte’s Beers, who spoke at the Cannes Lions festival last year, “women need to feel that they meet 100% of a job’s qualification before they apply, while for men it only takes 60% of confidence before hitting ‘send’.” 

Sound familiar? 

To succeed as a leader, you will need to be prepared to take risks sometimes - big or small. So if you’re one of those people who feel like you might be a little underqualified for a role you’re interested in, think about any transferable skills you own and whether there might be definite ways to add value to the business another way. Plus, also remember that most companies will offer different types of on-the-job training – it may still be worth sending off that CV! 

5. They are organised and have a morning routine

Do you already have a morning routine, which works for you? For example, are you used to getting up reasonably early and doing something productive with your day before you even step foot into work?

As an example, developing a habit of exercising every morning can help you with achieving a top-level performance at work, and can massively contribute to your creativity and ability to stay focused. This activity can get you into the right state of mind because it takes a great deal of motivation and willpower to exercise! It can also quell anxiety, and help power you on for the rest of the day. 

Not sure where to start with your morning routine? Here’s what a couple of well-known female leaders have shared:

Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post, likes to practice yoga and meditation to make sure that she starts her day on a good note. 

“A big part of my morning ritual is about what I don’t do: When I wake up, I don’t start the day by looking at my smartphone. Instead, once I’m awake, I take a minute to breathe deeply, be grateful, and set my intention for the day.”

Anna Wintour, on the other hand, arrives at New York’s Midtown Tennis Club at 5:45 a.m every morning for an hour of tennis, while Victoria Beckham enjoys her little “me, myself and I” time, with a modest fruit breakfast with green tea, followed by a double espresso. 

So, is it time to rethink your morning routine…?
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