Women To Women: How To Close The Leadership Gap – Forbes

International Women’s Day in Madrid, on March 8, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / OSCAR DEL POZO (Photo … [+] credit should read OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images)
The first National Women’s Day was observed in the United States in 1909, in accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America.
The following year, over 100 women from 17 different countries gathered in Copenhagen, Denmark, just ahead of the general meeting of the Second International Socialist Conference. It was there that Clara Zetkin proposed that a special day be declared to promote the interests and rights of women everywhere, including but not limited to women’s suffrage. That day was first observed the following year in tandem with the commemoration of the revolution of 1848 and the “Commune de Paris” on March 19, 1911.
Since then, the day has been moved to March 9 to commemorate a 1917 strike by Russian women demanding peace, bread, and the right to vote. International Women’s Day, March 8, was officially recognized by the United Nations in 1975.
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #BreakTheBias, acknowledging the dearth of representation in many areas of society. One such area in which bias still prevails is the C-suite of Fortune 500 companies. According to Fortune Magazine, only 8.2% percent of CEOs are women.
This is unfortunate, as women leaders often bring different skills to the table that arguably make them better leaders.
Here are 10 words of advice from women to women on how to close the leadership gap.
“A true leader possesses multiple character traits in which women are stronger than men. Confidence is the only area that women tend to not shine as brightly as they should,” says Francie Baldwin, CEO of Mega Success.
“Women need to start walking into the room with complete confidence in what they bring to the table. You have patience, empathy, communication, integrity, work ethic, vision, active listening, and balance, so be confident in all of that and start leading from the front. No one will look at you and say what an awesome female leader you are… they will just say, wow what a phenomenal leader. That is the ultimate goal.”
“I was one of only two women at a business workshop recently, and surprisingly we were both skipped when it came time for group questions. At my company, we go out of our way to listen to everyone’s feedback – no matter who they are or what their position is,” says Hazel Ortega, founder of High Tide Global.
“I have found that the best ideas come from the most unexpected places. The next time you’re looking for answers, seek out those you normally would not ask and gain their insights. Don’t be afraid to ask. That is when you will grow and improve you and your business.”
« Growing up in Germany it was often talked about how women drivers would ask for directions while men would rather roam aimlessly, reluctant to ask for help. While men and women today seem far more nuanced than decades ago, I still think that generally, women don’t view asking for help so much as an attribute but rather a weakness. As a lifelong entrepreneur and team leader I always ask for input and yes, help,” says Nadja Atwal CEO of Nadja Atwal PR.
“Questions like ‘Can you help me understand this?’ or statements like ‘I would so welcome your help here!’ come easily to me. And I’ve found them not to convey deficiencies at all but to show high EQ – also known as social intelligence – by both strengthening the team spirit and getting things done right faster. It makes an assistant’s day when he or she can give valuable input that the boss appreciates and runs with. Most people love the feeling of being needed. »
Many women leaders tend to adopt more traditionally masculine traits such as competitiveness, ambition, and accumulation of wealth in order to compete with their male counterparts. But it’s what makes women different that allows them to truly shine as leaders.
“What truly defines a BossLady is her captivating ambiance. She sets her own tone, cements the rules; a true testament to the staying power of femininity,” says Porscia Yeganeh, founder/designer and CEO of Porscia Yeganeh.
“The power of a BossLady is being authentically you; a bright example of independence, self-expression, and class without anyone’s permission.”
“When I first started my business, I was homeless and consumed with thoughts of what can I do to make money to feed my children, and hoped that one day I would achieve my dreams. When I became successful, I realized there are so many people in the same situation and wanting better for their children,” says Yassin Hall, CEO of B.O.S.S. Class LLC and Journey Untold LLC.
“I designed a program to share my success and vision with them. This allowed me to help countless women and men earn the life of their dreams. Cultivating my own online university has been my life’s mission.
“From my experience, when we improve our finances, we can then afford to take care of our mental health, and end the stigma surrounding it. My purpose combined with my advocacy for mental wellness is helping so many women around the globe.”
“Women are natural community-builders. We are the ones that rally the troops, so to speak, and make people feel seen and heard. And that’s not to say men don’t do that, it’s just a natural gift for women,” says Martha Krejci, CEO of Martha K Media Group.
“While other corporations are hemorrhaging employees, companies that create tight communities that feed people’s need for significance, contribution, and connection will continue to keep the upward trajectory.
“Instead of buying into the old hierarchy standard, companies that move toward a narrative of ‘everyone pushes the needle here, everyone matters, and everyone is part of the win’ are going to be the ones that not only retain their talent but will be beacons for more talent to come their way.”
“God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. Anyone in a leadership position has to be an effective listener and learn to ask the right questions. I think that women tend to be better listeners and process information more deeply before reacting, while men tend to be more reactionary,” says Toni Vanschoyck Founder of Effing Simple.
“But regardless of gender, leadership really comes down to having compassion and understanding for where the other person is coming from. Listening is not something that someone is born with though; it’s a skill set that needs to be developed. At the end of the day, learn to ask the right questions and really listen to your people.”
“Active listening, aka listening to understand instead of responding, makes short work of solving a problem by encouraging collaboration,” says Jeanette M. Braun, Esq. founder of Braun IP Law, LLC.
“This way of working keeps the lines of communication open, even when there is disagreement. It allows for intelligent debate and/or discussion without raising voices or becoming hostile.
“Justice Ginsburg’s legacy teaches how to maintain integrity, peace, and poise while being the underdog fighting, and winning, very difficult battles. Without ever raising her voice or becoming hostile, Justice Ginsburg moved quite a few mountains that were in the way of balancing the scales of justice.
“Her ability to listen actively and acknowledge her own lack of knowledge showed that she was confident in her abilities as a leader. She was also willing to change her plans when she learned new information, which showed that she was flexible and open-minded. These traits are essential for any leader, male or female. Men can learn a lot from Justice Ginsburg’s example and apply her techniques to their own leadership style.”
Isaac Newton wrote to his rival Robert Hooke, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”
“It takes a village to create exceptional success,” says Torund Bryhn, publisher at St. John’s Press.
“Rarely is success accomplished by one person alone. There is always a team working hard and relentlessly. My best advice is to invite people to be a part of your ride, acknowledge everyone, and reach your destination together.”
“My best advice is to be humble, be empathic and be a great listener,” says Donna Rennemo CEO of WindSim Power.
“All my life I have had opportunities come to me that have led me all over the world and allowed me to work with amazing people. I find working in a male-dominated culture to be normal.
“As women, we will always experience obstacles because of our gender, but I’ve tackled them by believing in myself, working hard, and showing respect to everyone I meet. What differentiates between good and great is how you approach work and how you face your obstacles.”
Whether it’s bringing more empathy, compassion, teamwork, community-building, or active listening skills to the table, women are uniquely suited to lead. Let this International Women’s Day not only celebrate women leaders but open the doors for more women to take their proper and equal place.

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