What Women Leaders Need to Know About Gender-Based Differences & Nonverbal Communication
Takes initiative. Confidence. Competence. Visionary. These are all characteristics that come to mind when we think of strong leadership—particularly male leadership. Unfortunately, even today, some of those same characteristics are viewed as negative traits when applied to women. Instead of being a go-getter, thinker, strategic planner, or capable team member, she is viewed as bossy, strong-willed, or rigid.
Without a doubt women are leading in more ways than ever before. And yet from Sheryl Sandberg’s national best seller, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, it appears that many women are still leading blindly. Sandberg encourages more women to sit at the table, jump in, grab opportunities, and keep their hands up. After all, “it is hard to visualize someone as a leader if she is always waiting to be told what to do.” As leaders, women must get comfortable taking the initiative.
In addition to taking the initiative, women need to become avid learners. Padmasree Warrior, Cisco’s chief technology officer, reports, “The ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have.” For competent leaders, it is fairly easy to learn the business of our companies and organizations and our job descriptions. Women rarely fail because of what is written on paper. Women often fall behind professionally because of unmet expectations and unspoken rules and that is where many of us need more education.
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