According to the Center for American Progress, although women hold almost 52% of all professional-level jobs, we hold significantly fewer leadership positions than men. We make up only 14.6% of executive officers, 8.1% of top earners, and 4.6% of Fortune 500 CEOs.
As a women’s leadership coach, I have seen the ways in which many women refrain from stepping into their power. Here are four tips to support you in your commitment to leadership.
1. “Leadership is taken, not given” - Betty Friedan
If you want to be a leader, claim that role. One of the most important things I have learned is that you have to BE a leader before others will SEE YOU as a leader. Take initiative, step up, and lean in.
2. Find your own way to lead.
For a long time, the only visible leaders were men, and when we did see women in leadership roles, they were characters like Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada, who make female leadership look unappealing at best. Luckily, as more women step into leadership roles, we are creating another model of female leadership: one that is kind, compassionate, thoughtful and authentic. Seek out your role models carefully, find your own way to lead, and live it every day.
3. Believe in yourself and take risks
Many women are afraid to stand out and speak up. But if you want to do something remarkable and change the world in a significant way, you can’t be afraid of being seen, and you can’t shirk away from being heard. Believe that you have something valuable to say and that your perspective is one that others want to hear.
4. Have a support system
You may have heard that you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. Not only is this true, but your ability to achieve your dreams is contingent upon whether the people around you believe that you can. Be selective about those you allow in your inner circle.
photo credit: Brandi Welles