If we want to be a great leader, it’s important to look to the best leaders we have had for inspiration and then, challenge yourself every day! By reflecting on your life to date, I am sure there have been great moments that you are really proud of, where you have taken charge and created amazing outcomes. Now, just imagine, taking yourself forward 10 years from today, where you had just started a new initiative in 2021, you had harnessed a great team and through your leadership and business success, you are being awarded the 2031 Global Citizen award for your leadership. Anything is possible and you have the potential to make it happen! Take Charge!
‘Do one thing every day that scares you.’ Eleanor Roosevelt
A July 2016 issue of Marie Claire outlines “The most inspirational women in history”; their achievements seeming all the more impressive given the modern world we now live in, where fashion, trends and politics can alter with a hashtag as quickly as a heartbeat, meaning finding timeless inspiration can sometimes seem like an impossible task. It’s why the following women deserve celebrating and why they are as relevant now as they ever were in the past!
Throughout history, women have fought courageously and tirelessly to assert themselves as individuals and experts in their field. Ground-breaking designers, space explorers, pilots, political activists and feminists, artists, monarchs and leaders. There is something these inspirational women all share in common: they are all warriors and continue to inspire us in our own modern lives. Meet the most inspirational women in history:
- Cleopatra. ‘I will not be triumphed over.’
- Rosa Parks. ‘I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free… so other people would be also free.’
- Mary Wollstonecraft. ‘If women be educated for dependence; that is, to act according to the will of another fallible being, and submit, right or wrong, to power, where are we to stop?’
- Nora Ephron. ‘I try to write parts for women that are as complicated and interesting as women actually are.’
- Emmeline Pankhurst. ‘Trust in God – she will provide.’
- Josephine Baker. ‘I wasn’t really naked. I simply didn’t have any clothes on.’
- Malala Yousafzai. ‘I don’t want to be remembered as the girl who was shot. I want to be remembered as the girl who stood up.’
- Amelia Earhart. ‘Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.’
- Valentina Tereshkova. ‘If women can be railroad workers in Russia, why can’t they fly in space?’
- Frida Kahlo. ‘Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?
- Florence Nightingale. ‘The very first requirement in a hospital is that it should do the sick no harm.‘
- Elizabeth Taylor. ‘I’ve been through it all, baby, I’m mother courage.’
- Coco Chanel. ‘The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.’
- Marie Curie. ‘Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.’
- Elizabeth I. ‘I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too.’
- Edith Cavell. ‘I realise that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.’
Encouraging More Women as Leaders
In a December 2020 issue of Global Citizen, Leah Rodriguez provides a perspective “Why Are Women Leaders So Great, and How Do We Encourage More of Them? It’s no coincidence that all four of this year’s finalists for the prestigious Global Citizen Prize for World Leader also happen to be women. While women only lead 21 countries worldwide and have been hit hardest socially and economically during the COVID-19 pandemic, they are also behind the most effective response plans, with female-led countries being praised throughout the pandemic. As the virus continues to threaten the well-being of people around the world, female leaders from New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Arden to education advocate Malala Yousafzai are centering the needs of the most vulnerable.
3 Tips for Leadership
A Latrobe blog provides “Top tips for women in leadership.” Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, gave her top three tips for women aiming for leadership roles in her 2010 TED talk on Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders. Her advice revolved around assertiveness, work-life balance with an equal life partner, and keeping focused and committed to your career instead of subconsciously withdrawing from opportunities in advance of the necessity to do so (to have children, for instance). Here, three of La Trobe University’s experts give their own top tips for your career as a leader:
- Hone your emotional intelligence
- Lead by doing what you love
- Make complacency your enemy
As a woman in leadership, you don’t have to change the world single-handedly – but you can be part of the change. With passion, awareness and a drive to bring your team with you on the journey, there’s no limit to what you can achieve.
R U Ready to Lead?
In Forbes, Cate Luzio asks a question “Women Leaders, Are We Really Prepared to Lead?” We are seeing an evolution in the workplace that is unprecedented. There is an urgency to promote more women into senior leadership roles and the C-suite as well as a focus on the experience of female founders and women businesses owners. The big question is how do we support these advancement efforts while ensuring that all leaders receive the management support needed for success? For women who are feeling the pressure not to make management misstep – here are four ways to better prepare for managing effective teams:
- For those that have not had the opportunity to manage or lead, we need to better prepare these leaders. Putting together a solid plan of development is critical
- Ask for feedback and embrace constructive feedback on areas of growth. We all want to hear that we are doing great, but we need to push our managers and leaders to provide solid developmental feedback with key milestones throughout our careers
- Remain open to self-improvement and find ways to upskill. Strive for promotions early and often but develop the managerial skills to be a recognized and strong leader. Focus on continuous learning both internally and externally
- Prioritize company culture. How your employees feel will help define your management style
Women should also seek external opportunities to invest in their own professional and personal development. Organizations like Ellevate, WE.NYC, NAWBO, ALICE and IWF have been created to support women in the workplace and their career journeys. All leaders learn every day, especially entrepreneurs, myself included, and we aren’t perfect. It’s a commitment to continuous improvement and growth that makes us stronger. It helps when this is broadly recognized by everyone around you on your journey from your new hire to your manager, to your mentor or investor.
Too busy to be a Leader!
My blog “How do we make time to learn leadership when we are too busy?” indicates that nobody is really as busy as they claim they are. We all have time we can utilise if we are serious about making changes. Leadership development is the same; you can’t be a great leader if you don’t continually develop your leadership skills. No leader is perfect; there is no level you reach as a leader where complacency about your growth becomes acceptable. The great leaders among us are those that recognise that there is always room for improvement within themselves, and that is worth making time for. When you think you’re too busy to work on your leadership, here’s how you can make the time and further develop yourself as a leader:
- Build Your Confidence
- Look For Lessons You Can Relate To Leadership In What You Read Or Watch
- Set Aside 20 Minutes Each Day For Your Development
- Reflect On Learning Opportunities From Your Daily Interactions
If you aren’t already putting enough time into your growth, don’t stress! As long as you make the commitment today and start creating these new habits, that’s what is most important. Don’t overload yourself – pick one of these tips and start doing it today, tomorrow, and the next day. Then slowly add more in so that you’re overwhelmed.
MAKE TIME for your NEXT LEVEL of Leadership
McDonald Inc. has a vision to: “Lead 1 million women to have Courage, Step in, Step up and Start up.” Through a compelling need, McDonald Inc. has the solutions and is now taking women’s leadership to the next level. This will help women across the globe become courageous in their lives, careers and through leadership especially in sectors where women are under-represented. Choose one of our programmes to take your leadership to the next level:
- Courage to Step In – getting into and back into workforce – career transitions and helping women back into workforce after a career break or those who don’t have resources
- Courage to Step Up – getting a seat at the table
- Courage to Start up – entrepreneurial program
- Courage to Lead – leadership for future of work
- Leadership and Executive Coaching
- And, remember, Leadership starts from within, so grab my latest book FIRST COMES COURAGE!
Get in touch today to learn more about building leadership skills and set yourself up for success!
Stay Kind. Stay Courageous.
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