Female leadership. It’s something we’re passionate about. It’s the driving force behind all we do here at My Glam Squad; providing a platform for awesome girl bosses around the UK who have taken the plunge into business to shine. Oprah even announced that something pretty awesome is happening, ‘a new day is on the horizon.’ Girls are uniting, supporting each other more than ever and setting their moral boundaries firm and clear. And everyone is listening.
But what does it take to be an inspiring female leader? It starts with a few mind set shifts. And the best part, you don’t have to be the highest paid, most senior or motivationally inspirational person in the room to be a leader. But there are 3 things you need to do.
- Know your values
Or at the very least start to explore them. What you’ll notice about great leaders, is they know what they stand for and they stick to it. As Roy Disney said, ‘it’s not hard to make decisions [in life] when you know what your values are.’
Here are some values to consider (taken from The Bridgemaker). If you fancy exploring some more values, a quick google will give you a more comprehensive list. Once you’ve read through them, choose your top 5, write them down and in all your actions, from today onwards, act in light of those values.
- Appreciation. Manners. Taking a brief moment to say, “thank you,” or acknowledging the exceptional job the waiter or waitress did fills your soul with more appreciation too.
- Belief in Others. It can be your attitude that can lift someone up when they are down. Their doubt can be erased simply by your confidence. And something else amazing happens: belief is contagious – the more you believe in and encourage others; the more you will believe in yourself.
- Considerate. Caring for others, as well as self-care, allows you to extend a helping hand and to pass along some unexpected reassurance. By taking the time to show we care; we demonstrate the fact there are still plenty of good people left in this world.
- Commitment. Commitment shows loyalty along with resilience, bravery and tenacity. A commitment is a promise made and an expectation we have created. Honouring our commitments to ourselves (think of our self-care I musts) and others can make the difference between truly embracing what’s most important to us or end up feeling disappointed and defeated.
- Compassion. We are all part of this thing called the human condition. No doubt we have different opinions, but at the end of the day, we all still need to take care of one another.
- Collaboration. Once you accept you haven’t got all the answers; that your ideas aren’t always the best- you open the door to a wonderful place where people feel safe to share their suggestions. Even if their ideas are not used; the feeling that they value will last a long time.
- Dedication. No matter how the circumstances may change, unless you are in a physically or emotionally abusive situation, stay the course and never give up. It’s easy to give up when things become too difficult. But it’s not as easy to fail. Failures are those who have just not found success yet – but they will. So failing simply shows someone who hasn’t stopped trying.
- Effort. No matter the outcome, there is always value in the effort when the effort is authentic and well-intended. People around you will always value effort, even if it led to failure.
- Forgiveness. The purpose of forgiveness is not to excuse someone of the wrongs committed against you; but to free yourself from the pain and the anger that is keeping you stuck. When you forgive, you are better able to let go of the past and keep moving forward with your life. It’s an important value to help keep people with you despite their mistakes.
- Friendship. Friends support us and provide an unfiltered view of our actions when asked. Friends sustain us through difficult periods and join us for the events we want to celebrate. Maintaining a friendship requires commitment; there’s a difference between acquaintances and friends.
- Gratitude. It is with a grateful heart that it helps see so much abundance in life. Valuing gratitude reminds us that what we have today can be taken away tomorrow.
- Honesty. To live authentically frees our minds of doubt or uncertainty. When we are honest, we know we are doing the right things.
- Integrity. Integrity defines our character; it’s the choices we make when no one is looking, when it’s not posted on social media; it’s how we react and respond to what happens to us. Integrity is having strong moral principles that you refuse to change even if it would benefit you to act in a certain way.
- Listening. To really listen to what someone is saying is a skill. It requires eye contact, phone down (!), active attention and to be fully present in the moment with them.
- Optimism. “When you get lemons, you make lemonade.” We are all dealt a pack of life cards, it’s up to us how we play them. Take what you have been given and make the best of it; you’ll notice a change in those around you when you adopt this attitude.
- Respect. Treating the cleaner the same as the CEO is key to being a good leader. We are all different, yet we are all the same in the sense we want to be respected for how we think and believe. When we show respect we are not only validating the other person’s dignity, we are also enhancing our own.
- Sacrifice. Sometimes it’s appropriate to put someone else’s needs before your own. This is the meaning of sacrifice. Along with sacrifice comes some discomfort; perhaps even some pain. Knowing that your needs aren’t always as important as others is what makes sacrifice a value to live by.
- Tolerance. There are people who make us angry and we just can’t seem to see eye-to-eye with on an issue. Rather than showing contempt, tolerance is a better alternative. It shows respects, patience and courtesy – all important values in their own right, too.
Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values – Dalai Lama. Once you see value in your values, what you say and how you say it, along with your actions will reflect the person you want to be.
- Be consistent
You can’t only hold your values on the weekend. You can’t drop them on a Monday morning because you’re tired. It’s tricky but it’s what makes a good leader. No favouritism, no see what mood she’s in. Day in, day out your values have got to guide all decisions. The respect and loyalty you gain from consistency will keep people with you not against you.
- Support eachother
Being a ‘girl boss’ is a misleading phrase. A true leader should do no ‘bossing.’ It’s important to steer the ship, but you don’t always know the best way to run it. A leader encourages those around them of the vision to follow and keeps everyone on track and together. It’s much easier to criticise, gossip, moan and dictate to someone what to do; it’s a much harder skill to ask why? Why haven’t we all understood that yet? What do I need to do to help everyone? How could we work together to get the best results? It’s easier to dictate and think your idea is always best; that’s why good leadership is a rarity. But you can start asking those questions from today. When someone knows you care, respect is born and collaboration starts to grow.
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. African Proverb
Take some time this week to realign your actions with your values. What values are most important to you?