by Angela Kambouris | Featured Contributor
Women throughout history have led through great wisdom. J.K Rowling’s hopeful 2008 Harvard commencement speech, Oprah’s powerful 2018 Golden Globe acceptance speech and Lady Gaga’s 2019 Oscar’s acceptance speech reminding you that if you have a dream, fight for it. There is a discipline for passion, and it is not about how many times you get rejected or fall, it is about how times you stand up, are brave and keep moving forward. As Marilyn Monroe once said, “give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world”.
Inspiring women derive from all walks of life. In today’s world, there is nothing more important than lifting each other up to thrive in success, to empower one another and to dare to lead by being brave in the face of fear.
Women today are CEO’s, entrepreneurs and so much more. When women lead with compassion, they inspire the next generation to rise to great heights than ever before.
Today, it is our responsibility to pay it forward by empowering all women to embrace opportunities and possibilities beyond the limits of their imagination. That within lies the power to reclaim your power, strength, and vulnerability to stand in your truth and propel yourself towards what you want for your life. By planting the seeds, women collectively can stand strong.
Women’s International Day will be celebrated on March 8 this year. It’s a perfect opportunity to celebrate women to better the world. Here are eight ways women leaders inspire the next generation.
Refusal to stay in a box
Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back. Women who came before us, fought for our freedom and laid the foundation that provides us the platform to honor the truest expression of ourselves today – Coco Chanel forward thinker revolutionalized societal expectations around fashion and relationships, Eleanor Roosevelt First Lady of the United States, independent and outspoken on the rights of women and other humanitarian causes, Indira Gandi the first female prime minister of India strongly advocated for women’s rights and advanced India on the international stage and Oprah Winfrey had the longest-running daytime talk show on television, broadcast in 145 countries around the world and established her leadership academy for girls. These extraordinary women paved the way for modern movements and created pathways that altered the course of history for all women.
Breakthrough and rise
With so many obstacles on the road to gender equality, women must uplift each other despite culture’s habit of trying to pit us against each other. Women must propel each other forward instead of holding each other back. By harnessing the collective energy of women, you can inspire future and aspiring women leaders.
One project that has brought this to life is the Girl Child Empowerment Trust in Zimbabwe to engender active participation in the upliftment of the girl child, raising awareness of issues impacting girls and creating a common platform for communicating their needs. There is a fundamental understanding that empowering African women and girls in the spheres of economics, education, human rights, and politics has significant advantages, both for the women and their families and their culture.
Be the leader you always were
Leadership always starts with you. As women, you must delve deep into your reflection to truly witness self-love and empowerment. Sustainable success will not come from fitting into anybody else’s mold, its imperative to live your own life and lead like the woman you are. One cannot lead others, if you cannot lead yourself.
Embracing your feminine energy
As more women enter the C-suite or start their own companies, investing in embracing your feminine energy by trusting intuition, amplifying compassion and embodying patience, leads to a more holistic business. Traditionally women have been encouraged to emulate masculine leadership qualities to climb the corporate ladder however when women step into their true identities with openness, transparency, owning emotions, being clear about values, vulnerabilities and fears, modern audiences embrace the humanness when it comes to leading.
Want to lead like a woman, know your leadership journey
When women are fully aligned with their values, you preserve your energy, create flow states where you become a force for positivity. Conscious and inclusive leaders have stories about how they achieved their success. Sharing the story and your vulnerabilities hold power by connecting authentically with your people, customers, and investors.
When it comes to the workplace, women bring tremendous executive social skills that increase team work, they work more egalitarian and focus on bringing out the best in their people. Women encourage a high level of self-awareness and are conscious of the health of their teams. Psychology today supports due to women’s neurological make-up, women are more empathetic and as a result more likely to be better at tapping into their senses about how others are reacting.
Women who tap into their expansive thinking tend to expand strategy to a longer-term view. Women see possibilities through new ideas and innovative thinking, value empathy and collaboration which is part of their hard-wiring. Women leaders express competition differently by influencing relationships rather than hunting for the kill.
Queen Bee phenomenon
Unfortunately, the “queen bee” phenomenon surfaces within organizations as senior-level women distance themselves from junior women to be more accepted by male colleagues. When women snub other women, fail to support each other and communication breakdowns, these environments permeate and stain the fabric of the organization.
To breakthrough cultural experiences of competition rather than collaboration, creating a dedicated space, such as women-owned lunches to share challenges and celebrate success are opportunities within male-dominated industries. When you bring groups of people together, you appreciate that problems are not specific to you but in fact, are collective challenges. Being together creates an improved flow of information and a sense of unity that we are in this together.
Invest in women
Every time a woman brings her personal style confidently, you signal to other women that it is okay. If you want to uplift other women, lead by example. Women bring different flavors to the table and when you recognize excellence in other women, and yourself, you strengthen the capacity to let others shine through you.
Sponsorship is a phenomenal way to capture achievements, create a culture of support, recognizes and celebrates people and as an advocate, you can link them with opportunities on their behalf. It is an excellent way for future leaders to be brought to the attention of executives.
Today, the world demands moments where the power of women’s voices must be heard. Women must be invited to illuminate the world in their unique way. You all have the responsibility and the capacity to stand in your power, embrace your vulnerabilities and amplify your strengths in your approach to empower future generations of women.