5 Self empowering practices for women leaders

As women, we’re so busy juggling multiple responsibilities at work and home that we end up neglecting ourselves; our emotional, material, physical and mental needs almost always take a back seat. The consequences are fatal in the long run.

To sustainably grow and lead a more accomplished life, we need to recognize and establish practices that help us operate from our highest potential while eliminating habits that do not serve our body and mind any more. As a women leadership consultant and coach having worked with senior women leaders, I sometimes wonder if the worst deterrent of women’s ascension towards leadership roles is, they themselves.

Here are five practices that I have observed successful women leaders experiment with and have found of great value

1. “Tune into ourself”

Tuning into ourself or self-awareness, is the meta-competence of 21st century. By tuning into ourself, we become an observer of our own values, beliefs, core-drivers, motivations, desires, fears and see how these elements play out every day as we face myriad situations. It helps us observe and understand the repetitive patterns of our mind and the games we play with ourselves and the ways in which we process our emotions. It’s important to question our believes and habits and evaluate which one of them have stopped serving us.

This is the first step towards identifying and operating from our highest potential and thus living a more holistic, accomplished and satisfying life.

2. Intentional Action:

Many of our internal surveys with women leaders reflect that while women have a fair sense of what success means to them and are committed to their career success, 60% of them don’t have a professional development plan. Proactiveness is about closing this knowing- doing gap.

We need to understand that ambition is a verb, and it requires intentional action. We need to take proactive and sustainable action to move towards becoming the self we always aspired to be. This needs planning, networking, identifying our strengths and magnifying them, also identifying our derailers and finding ways to keep them under check if not eliminate them completely. All this requires us to plan and set intention towards putting that plan into action every day.

3. Boundaries:

Often as women we receive this message early on in our life, that we need to keep other’s needs before our own. Hence the word “boundary” is often perceived negatively by us. It is important to reframe the actual meaning of Setting Boundaries in our mind before we embark towards defining them for ourselves.

Setting boundaries is about declaring and owning your priorities. It is about prioritizing your own needs and channelizing your energy towards mitigating these needs.

We humans have limited reserve of energy to get us through the day. It is important to focus all our energy on our most important priorities to feel accomplished at the end of the day.

4. Claim your Achievements:

We often find women sharing that they are likely to deflect praise when singled out instead of accepting compliments and owning their wins. Many of us may feel it is beneficial to talk about our triumphs and wonder how to start. The good news is that beginning to talk about your achievement is a behavior which is completely with in our sphere of control.

You need to start paying attention to how you talk about yourself to others and more importantly who are you in your self-talk. Here are some tips for you to discover a new habit of talking about your achievements:

  • Simply start by saying “Thank you”.
  • Avoid deflecting comments such as “it was easy” or “I was lucky” or other minimizing comments.
  • If you feel difficult not adding something else to your ‘thank you’, try to elaborate on your involvement to success. This could be whatever from “it was a lot of fun to be involved in managing the complexities in this project” or “I’m pleased to see the contribution this will have towards creating goodwill with our clients”
  • Learning to talk about yourself is practice, practice, practice.

Through practice fight your awkwardness around speaking about your contributions. It only sends a signal that you are ready to rise. Remember your brand = your competencies + your reputation + how you present yourself

5. Enlisting Support:

Beware of not acknowledging your vulnerability! Trying to do everything ourselves is a surest recipe for burnout and career stagnation. We women need to intentionally work towards creating an eco-system of support by reaching out for help both for managing work and home.

We need to enlist support at home not because we can’t do a certain thing but because we can do other things better. This requires honest evaluation of what is best done by you and what’s best done by others. Also it requires identifying, trusting and empowering people so that they can help you.

Between work-life balance and office politics, there are numerous challenges women can face in the workplace. However, there is a solution to help women get into more leadership roles – mentoring. Mentors can provide personal experiences with promotions and career development in general, giving women insight on navigating the process successfully.

Essentially, we need to leverage our femininity more by demonstrating the courage to be more of who we are and systematically crafting an eco-system which enables that to happen.

(Exclusive Authored Article)


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