3 Ways Quiet Female Leaders Can Unleash Their Potential
The increasing drive for women’s leadership in the workplace given its positive impact on bottom lines, continues to substantiate that companies investing in women is simply good business. Eager millennials are leaning into their careers à la Sandberg style with a higher hope factor that they don’t necessarily need to choose – family plus a fulfilling career can happily co-exist.
However, there’s a kind of working woman that’s not often spotlighted. She’s the experienced professional who is quiet and doesn’t often speak up in meetings or self-promote despite her track record and accomplishments. With a strong sense of empathy she can easily step into the shoes of another person, with an authentic desire to understand the feelings and points of view of everyone in the room often over and above her own. This natural skill comes at a price however with potential backlash. Here’s what to look for, if you are flying under the radar far too long yet know in your gut you have the chops to add incredible value to a leadership role.
Protect yourself against low-level energy
If you are able to easily sponge up the energy and feelings of everyone in the room, you may be empathic and are letting negative vibes drag you down. Many women feel so incredibly self-aware that they assume others can read right through them. This can have them shift to a feeling of powerlessness, easily shot down from pitching their ideas. To spin this around, turn away from the critics who possibly don’t see the big picture yet and paint it for them, while leveraging your ability to read others. Aiming for inclusive conversation, makes you approachable and someone people trust and feel most accepted by, because of this very collaborative gene.
Wave away Interruptions
It’s a common misconception that if a woman speaks up too often in meetings she is considered aggressive. Make no mistake, male or female, it’s easy to want to shut down when someone in the room interrupts you. Use this as an opportunity to say “Hold on, let me finish” and just keep going. The next time you will be more likely to raise your hand to make a key point irrespective of other people’s opinions and criticisms.
Call it out
If there’s a trend of finger pointing at management with historically weak leadership, you can call out the elephant in the room, especially if your role was branded a failure before you joined. It will make you uncomfortable, but you can say something to your new team, such as: ‘Hey, I get that these have been the challenges, but let’s take a step back and see how we can course correct and create change”.
With all this trusted intelligence as the quiet confident woman, you are slam dunking projects and taking names. You are unleashing your potential on a daily basis even when you need input from others, trying things out to see what sticks and keeping “your people” front and center in all your initiatives.
Struggling with your CONFIDENCE levels when you COMMUNICATE? Want to MAXIMIZE your POTENTIAL and ELIMINATE ANXIETY to get out there bigger? Need a STRATEGY before making your next move? Reach out and we’ll see if we can help.
*only if you’re feeling gutsy* 🙂
By Marisa Santoro