posted on: 6/5/2011 12:09:06 PM EST
Giggling little girl or powerhouse?
leadership, women leadership skills, success patterns

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I found this to be a very timely and true analysis of female leaders.

Five Leadership Lessons with a Gutsy Twist By Sylvia Lafair

The journey starts with the first pink onesies, ribbons and bows that shout, “Here is our little girl.” Parents provide not just food, shelter and clothing–but also messages, overt and subtle, about the roles you are destined to play in the family, in school, and at work.
Were you programmed to be a super-achiever, pleaser, martyr, drama queen or rebel? Each of us has been dealt cards from a deck that is exclusively marked: this family, this culture, and this time in history. These are important facts to consider as you decode the stereotypes and decide how to move forward in your life, personally, and professionally.

Okay, so here you are, all grown up, and leading your work team to huge success. How did you get from that cute little giggling girl to the powerhouse of today? As a woman, you have a fabulous advantage. And guess what? It’s all in your head. Women’s brains are set up to connect the dots of situations while our male counterparts have brains geared to compartmentalize. Gutsy female leaders use this inbred ability to gather people, information, ideas and even dissenting points of view to resolve conflict quickly and easily and move to high levels of productivity and creativity.

The gutsy female leader uses her connectivity to clear the old beliefs of the past in order to free the present. This era, fostering equality and personal choice, is the perfect time for female leaders to stand on the shoulders of what our grandmothers, mothers and sisters have done before us. Here are the qualities that make today’s gals the take charge gutsy women that the world needs now. You are in the right place at the right time.

1. Don’t run from conflict. Gutsy leaders really go for it. The ultimate question is not who is right and who is wrong; rather it is what are the underlying needs and issues. You have the ability to initiate dialogue around contentious issues rather than avoid them. So don’t avoid them!

2. Be aware of the unspoken needs that people bring with them to work. You learn to know those you are leading as human beings who come to work with a multitude of concerns and issues. While it is not your responsibility to solve the myriad concerns, you extend a helping hand finding necessary resources. Instead of being a rescuer, you are a mentor.

3. The world of power games is old and stale. Gutsy leaders are willing to take the risk of telling the truth without blame, judgment or attack. That’s not the old power game, is it? The pattern of pleaser, so common for women in the past, kept real power buried. Now, with candor and open communication the truth is refreshing and healing. The pleaser becomes a strong truth teller.

4. Drama is in—play it up! The tendency to drama, so often attributed to women, makes way for the art and craft of storytelling to enhance and underline your vision. Your task is to encourage and create a sustained beat that everyone can align with—more like a jazz combo than a football team.

5. The exclusive club is history. While in the past males often had their “private clubs,” the gutsy women leaders of today know how to include everyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion or economic background. This keen ability to include and to stand up for the right of everyone to be heard and considered is what separates those who live in fear from those who stand for freedom and justice.

Gutsy women recognize each other at meetings, cocktail parties, school functions—you’re the ones who want to be part of something that feels bigger than just making a living. You work to make life better and your time to contribute is here and now.

This article was written by Sylvia Lafair, Ph.D., author of the award winning e-book, Don’t Bring It to Work, Working Together and Pattern Aware Success Guide, is president of CEO, Creative Energy Options.

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