The Secrets of Women in Leadership

I don’t know about you, but when I see an article that offers the inside scoop of some of today’s top leaders, I am immediately drawn to read it. We are learning creatures and when I have the ability to learn something new from someone who is already making a difference, I jump at the opportunity.

Fast Company recently interviewed ten top women leaders and asked them to share a little behind the scenes knowledge of what they believe is important for today’s leaders. Here are just three of the ideas from the article:

BE A “DEEP LISTENER”  Katie Rae, managing director of TechStars Boston and founder of Project 11

PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU ARE DOING WRONG  Rachel Sklar, founder of Change The Ratioand The Li.st

YOU DON’T HAVE TO HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS  Kathryn Finney, founder and managing director of digitalundivided (DID)

There are more great comments and to read the entire article and learn more about each of the ten women interviewed click on 10 Women in Leadership Share Their Secrets to Success.

I selected these three comments because they represent three areas we might not always want to examine.

Listening: As women, we long to offer solutions, to fix the problem and move on and yet if we interrupt to offer our help, advice or answers too quickly, we miss the subtle information being shared. Deep listening involves turning off our brain that is constantly thinking and turn our entire focus on the person speaking. We need to listen, not only to the words, but also to the information being shared between the lines. Take notes, ask questions, dig deep because that is when the true information sharing begins.

Mistakes: It is hard to admit when we are failing or not being as successful as we’d like on a project and yet that is when we can learn the most about ourselves. Look at the bosses you have had over the years; which ones teach the most – the best or the worst? Often we can learn what not to do as leaders by examining what a boss has done wrong. The same is true for our own actions. Rather than sweeping our mistakes under the rug hoping no one will notice, examine what went wrong that you might do differently the next time.

Know-it-all: This is a hard one to admit. As leaders, we feel, wrongly so, that we should have the answers but it is impossible to know everything about everything. The best leaders are the one who surround themselves with those who are best in their field.  

As a woman leader, what do you believe are the most important traits of a successful leader?