Women in leadership – the secret to success – part 2

I have spent the past 20 years working for government and the private sector. For most of those years I held key executive positions. Three characteristics in particular have been instrumental to my success. They are: having a positive attitude, a solid reputation, and confident communication skills.

For key tips on each element, see the three-part series.  Women in leadership – the secret to success – part 1 and Women in leadership – the secret to success – part 3

Characteristic two: reputation

Your thoughts, words and actions combine to form your reputation. Hence, it’s important to focus on your reputation as a key component to being successful in leadership. Specifically, five key elements are important to master.

  1. Influence the performance of others successfully

Often frustrations are caused by lack of clarity. To achieve what is required it helps if you know how to effectively influence the performance of others. It’s not fair for you to get annoyed at someone’s output when you have been vague with your requirements and expectations. Key tips for doing this well are:

  • be purpose-driven
  • control your expectations
  • forgo perfectionism (follow the 80-20 rule)
  • set clear boundaries
  • keep instructions simple
  • focus on the key learnings/skills that the employee can gain so they feel empowered and inspired to improve.
  1. Assert yourself in the right way

You really get to see the character and weaknesses of people when they are under pressure. Watch your stance and manage yourself. It is important to keep your responses in check, particularly your email responses. Emotionally charged heat-of-the-moment responses are an easy way to ruin your reputation in seconds. When required, step away or ‘sleep on it’ to ensure you have control over your emotions and your responses. This means – leave your drama at home and/or keep your frustrations in check.

  1. Understand which tasks are worth your time

Having the awareness and ability to understand which tasks are worth your time is vital to successful leadership. Time is precious and it should be used wisely. 

  1. Build trust and relationships

Leaders build and maintain effective relationships with a wide variety of people. To be successful you can’t work a silo. Good leaders develop relationships and connection both within and outside their organisation. Importantly, you need to build trust and make positive connections with your peers and your subordinates by doing what you say you will.

  1. Confront and resolve conflict

Conflict in the workplace reduces productivity, as it distracts employees from their core focus. It’s not a fun part of the job but it is an absolute necessity that should not be avoided.

Key tips when dealing with conflict are to:

  • don’t try and ‘win’ the discussion
  • prepare yourself, be genuine, ask for their help, and establish a mutual purpose and respect
  • be aware of your biases
  • take ownership of mistakes and bad outcomes and learn from them
  • practice active listening. Wait and learn before coming to conclusions. Listen to understand and paraphrase.
  • focus on contribution and solutions. NOT BLAME.

2 thoughts on “Women in leadership – the secret to success – part 2

  1. Pingback: Women in leadership – the secret to success – part 1 – Enabling positive change …

  2. Pingback: Women in leadership – the secret to success – part 3 – Enabling positive change …

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