Women seeking leadership roles have been challenging the gender bias rife in this unfairly male-dominated area. Recent statistics show that the number of senior management roles filled by women in 2019 grew to 29%. Research shows that companies who have women in leadership positions are more likely to outperform in various different areas, including profitability, optimised productivity and better average growth. Challenging gender bias is therefore not only necessary from a moral standpoint, but also from an economic one.
However, many women have still faced an unjust struggle in working their way up to the top, making it more important than ever for those already in existing leadership positions to embrace their status as role models and inspire others to continue breaking in the glass ceiling. Below is a list with some of the most important qualities that can be found in successful female leaders, helping to tackle gender inequality throughout the workplace, and inspire the women around them.
Competence is one of the most integral qualities necessary to succeed in any type of role, especially as a leader. Therefore, it’s important for any woman wanting to succeed as a leader to identify and work on their strengths and limitations. In doing this, you can help to build up a more level-headed perception of your ability to perform in this role, and thereby how to optimise this performance, targeting weaknesses for improvement whilst leveraging strengths to your advantage.
Becoming a more competent leader is heavily determined on your ability to acknowledge your own strengths and weaknesses, and further your willingness to learn and work on areas where there’s room for improvement. The Oxford Women’s Leadership Development Programme, offered in collaboration with GetSmarter, is a six-week programme which can help equip you with the necessary skills to lead and influence while navigating the challenges and gender biases within the workplace.
Good communication is key for anyone in a leadership role, helping you to manage your employees more effectively as well as your relationship with supervisors and colleagues. One huge aspect of communicating effectively is expressing empathy and emotions, of which can help to make you seem more genuine to everyone you interact with professionally, and further enabling you to connect on a deeper, more engaging level.
Particularly for women in leadership roles, it’s also important to learn how to effectively respond to any gender-based assumptions, further helping to break unproductive stigmas within your working environment.
A successful leader is aware of the character they emit through this role, carefully curating this to be not only a figure employees and colleagues respect, but also one that inspires and pushes the business forward. It’s important to establish your identity as a leader, helping to assert yourself within this role whilst also setting an example for those looking up to you. It’s vital to recognise your status and potential within this role, and from this decide on the type of leader you want to be.
In doing this, you can bring your own unique character to this role, which can further help to establish your presence and position within the professional community.
Confidence is another key element required to succeed as a leader. Confidence is necessary not only in helping you to establish your authoritative presence within the workplace, but is also required to gain the trust of your employees, colleagues and supervisors. If you’re not confident in your own abilities and position, how do you expect others to be?
Therefore, recognising your strengths and acknowledging you are deserving of a leadership role can help to convince others of this too, of which can further help you to succeed as a leading figure in your business.
Anyone successful in leadership will have to hold a deep commitment to this role. This includes dedicating a significant portion of energy and time to your work, and persevering through any speed bumps you may find along the way. The best way to deal with setbacks within your working life is to see them as a learning opportunity, helping you to be better equipped if similar issues come up in the future. Hard work and dedication to your role, particularly through the more turbulent periods, are essentials in becoming an experienced and successful leader.
The qualities listed throughout this guide are all essential components for making up a successful leader, regardless of gender. For women wanting to help tackle the leadership gap, and bring about more diversity to such high-powered positions, it can help not only to consider such qualities whilst attempting to break into such leadership roles, but further to emanate them so that other aspiring women can follow suit.