Do you want to become a boss and stand out from the rest?
I work with many successful female CEOs and entrepreneurs who are amazing leaders in their organizations, and the things they all have in common are these six leadership skills. If you master these skills, you’ll be the boss you’ve always wanted to be.
Sometimes, you need to take a step back from the professional aspects of your business and be empathetic to what your employees might be going through. Think of how the past few years have been for your staff — COVID, working from home while balancing parenting and homeschooling. I always try to be empathetic to my staff who have children at home while they’re trying to juggle deadlines at work. Sometimes this means telling a client that we’ll have to push a deadline back a couple of days, but it’s not the end of the world. I’d rather have happy people on my team who are loyal and feel like they’re cared for than stress about meeting deadlines.
I’ve always been a great talker but not as good of a listener. This is something I’m getting better at as a girl boss. My team is very smart, and they’re the ones in the trenches doing most of the work. Because of their involvement, their feedback is invaluable to the success of our company. That’s why as a boss, I try to listen first, then give my advice second. I don’t always agree with what my employee suggests, but I try really hard to look at the big picture because they usually have a perspective that I hadn’t even considered.
Listening is also so important in sales. The best sales reps ask questions and listen before they start selling anything. You can’t know what the prospect really wants unless you listen first. The same goes for my current clients. I’ve made the mistake of thinking a marketing plan was going very well because it was reaching my objective of getting leads, but the client may have a different objective with the marketing plan. If you don’t understand this upfront, you may lose the client.
The better you’re able to communicate the objectives of what you’re trying to achieve and the ‘why’ behind it, the more your employees will get on board. People want to take pride in their work and feel like they’re contributing something very important to the company and to the world.
Another good rule of thumb is that for every three positive remarks you say to your staff, provide one criticism. Your employees will want to work harder for you if you give positive feedback and also give them direction for how they can improve. I love to do the Enneagram personality test with my employees so I can learn what their personality is like and how they best communicate. Everyone has different communication styles, so once you learn the styles of your employees you can interact with them more effectively.
It’s important as a boss to be honest with your employees as well. Let them know how the company is doing and how close you are to reaching your goals, but also own any mistakes or losses that happen. This way, you can learn from your mistakes as a team, and your employees will feel more comfortable expressing any concerns to you.
Handling failure with class
How we handle failures speaks volumes about us. And just like children watching their parents, your employees will look to you when something goes wrong because you set the tone for the entire organization.
Own up to your mistakes and take ownership of your team’s mistakes as well. Successful leaders don’t blame others or point fingers, they take responsibility and use it as an opportunity to learn. Work together to come up with a solution to have a better outcome next time. That’s how good companies become great.
Successful women leaders are confident. They make decisions quickly because they trust their instincts. You can’t spend weeks or months researching something to decide if it’s a good idea to implement it. By the time you do this, your competition may have already implemented it and passed you by.
If you aren’t confident in what you’re doing or the decisions you’re making, your team won’t be confident either. This doesn’t mean that you won’t make the wrong decision from time to time, but imperfect action is better than no action at all.
Emotional intelligence is learning to handle your emotions and the emotions around you. You need to learn to effectively manage negative emotions and stressful situations so you don’t get overwhelmed and affected by them when trying to make professional decisions. You may consider breathing deeply or taking a ten minute walk when you start to experience strong emotions. Don’t react immediately, but think about your course of action during this time and how you will move forward without letting your emotions influence your next move.
If you’re feeling a little leary about having these skills naturally, don’t worry. These six traits can be learned and most successful women in business are in constant pursuit of mastering these leadership skills.