Leadership, the pure definition of which comes in as many forms as it does leaders, some are motivational,some are inspirational, some are creative and get this some are even female!!!
Yes female leadership is no longer something that is confined to tales of biblical prohibition and in today’s society the thirst for females to succeed and earn … yes earn their place at the top table is stronger than ever. As a child we look to our parents for guidance with keen wide open eyes we watch and we learn, we mimic, we push ourselves because we want that praise that acceptance,that “ well done”,” great job” and that is still evident within the workplace.
In my early 20’s I moved into the world of sales, where my success was my fate, talk about baptism of fire, the competition was fierce and all of a sudden a reasonably pretty face and a huge personality (irrespective of the fact that at this point I was clueless) became a threat. I was eager to learn from my female peers, I listened intently to their calls, noting how their styles differed and how some enjoyed more success than others and I made mental notes of where I thought they were going wrong.
It soon became apparent I was on my own and after teaching me the basics I was quite clearly treated as theiropponent, I was after all what stood between them and a month end bonus. They disengaged from me pretty quickly , all that is apart from one lady called Christine she was late 50’s and had worked at the Newspaper sinceit’s first page rolled off the press, working her way to a position of leadership over the years and she was my new leader.
During my first few weeks my interaction with her had been minimal, she was helpful, she was kind and unbeknown to me she had been watching my every move. In those first few weeks she had gained an understanding of my strengths, my weaknesses, how I interacted with others and over the coming months she praised my strengths and built on my weaknesses and cleverly engineered those whom had tried to alienate me in order to create fear and nervousness, into a position where they had a responsibility to mentor me.
I often wonder if this had been a male leader if I would have thrown in the towel, the female intuition helps us pick up on subtle emotional messages given off by othersand hand in hand with empathy (another great leadership quality), this lady gave me the support encouragement and inspiration I needed to excel.
And excel I did when one year later I achieved “Sales person of the year” for Welland Valley Newspapers she was the first person I thanked, and her first words to me were “ Well done Aj, great job I knew you could do it” the very words I craved to hear as a child from my mother. A year later when I left the Newspaper to head up a large sales team of my own, I vowed to use what she had taught me and promised myself I too would be like her one day and I would support others to achieve as I had done.
I have along my career path encountered many female leaders, some strong some slowly burning out. It’s the burning out ones that worry me the most, these ladies are our reference point they are our goals and yet so many stay silent. We need to break the silence we need to hear those voices , encourage them to speak up and pass those pearls of wisdom down the line, it’s the emotional and inspirational legacy factor of all female leaders . I for one would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for these ladies they are “the art of the possible” and who wouldn’t want a bite of that cherry.
I am 46 and still learning as are we all , I am lucky enough to still work with some great female leaders from whom I sip from their fountain of knowledge on a regular basis. It is my responsibility to ensure the fountain continues to flow so I keep the water supply running up stream to allow it to flow back down.
Keep that fountain flowing.
Keep curious , share and network.
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