What are some of the traits that leader possesses?
I have been fortunate to work with strong leaders throughout my career. There are a few things that strong leaders seem to have in common: they know their strengths, they keep learning, they look to work with people who are different from them, and they work hard at honing their technical and soft skills.
What do women leaders bring that is unique?
I think women leaders bring different perspectives. Women are well represented in our societies, in our customer bases, and our workplaces. Building empathy as an organisation with the traits and needs of that group is valuable. Our perspective as women leaders equips us to formulate solutions that can benefit our teams and our communities more holistically.
In your work situation, it is often women leaders that become your biggest allies. They are often the first to recognise that you are putting in the effort and loving what you do. Determine who your allies might be and start working out how you can earn more of their trust.
Which woman has inspired you the most?
When I was very young, I had a friend whose mother was a small business owner. This lady loved her job! She worked long hard hours, sometimes late into the evening. She sourced meals from people that cooked better than she did. She devised ways to do mundane tasks faster. Watching her showed me that the boundaries we experience are often self-imposed. She taught me that it is okay, in fact it is great, to delegate tasks that you’re not good at to people who can do them well. She taught me that you can be successful in your career while still loving your family. She said you can have it all but takes hard work to achieve it. She also taught me that, in some ways, women have more choices than men do. I always try to remember these when I want to retain strong female colleagues! She made such an enormous impact on me as a little girl and has helped me become the leader I am today
What advice do you have for women aiming for leadership positions?
From my experience, leadership is a journey rather than a destination. You have to keep working at your technical and soft skills, stretching your abilities, and practicing your humility by doing new things and feeling uncomfortable every so often. Get used to making mistakes and apologising sincerely. Invest in relationships at all levels. Most of all, find joy in your job, it makes you an easier leader to follow.