From a young age, girls are taught that when they speak up and take charge, they are bossy meanwhile when boys are called leaders for behaving in the exact same ways.
This phenomenon plays a huge role in why women are significantly less likely to pursue leadership opportunities than men. Luckily, though, there is a movement to change this. Leaders like Sheryl Sandberg and Beyonce are calling out society for persuading girls that there is something wrong with them for speaking up and are making an effort to ensure ambitious girls are labeled as the leaders they are and not written off as bossy.
It’s not enough just to ban the word bossy. In order for women to be empowered, they need to learn the skills it takes to thrive as an effective leader.
I’m going to teach you how.
Don’t Be Bossy, Be a Transformational Leader
Rather than trying to fight to be respected by adopting an aggressive, male style of leadership, you’ll be more successful and eliminate the word bossy from your followers’ vocabulary if you embrace your natural strengths as a female leader. The key difference between the way men and women lead is that men tend to naturally adopt an authoritative leadership style, known as transactional leadership. With this style, their sole goal is to force their teams to achieve results, regardless of the happiness or wellbeing of their teams. Women on the other hand are naturally geared towards transformational leadership. They strive to accomplish goals by helping their team members reach their full potential.
The awesome thing about this is that studies have found that the transformational leadership style is the most effective method for leading teams. That’s because it allows you to lead people to be productive and successful without being a bossy leader who makes demands and earns resentment.
Here’s how to adopt a transformational style of leadership:
#1 Spend time engaging with your team on a personal level
This means setting aside a few moments to learn about your team members lives and following up with them. This shows your team that you care about them as individuals and not just for the work they do.
#2 Assign people tasks according to their strengths
Rather than blindly delegating work without much thought or on what seems the most convenient, learn what each member of your team is naturally good and enjoys and give them as much work as possible that fits that.
#3 Emphasize communication as a key to success
When your team feels comfortable being transparent with you, you’re less likely to have to deal with major problems because they feel safe coming to you for help the moment issues start to arise.
#4 Remind your team why their work matters
Instead of solely focusing on getting your team to achieve results, constantly emphasize the deeper importance of the work they are doing. Examples include creating a product that meets a consumer need, increasing revenues so your company can invest more in local charities, etc. Find something that makes their work meaningful. Your goal should be to make them feel like they are doing something greater than working for a paycheck.
#5 Offer your team members coaching so they become better at their jobs
As a leader, you have a responsibility to help your team members become better professionals. When an individual is struggling on a project, use it as an opportunity to give them constructive feedback on how they can do their job more effectively. Not only will this help them move forward with their career, it also makes them more a more skilled and valuable employee.
Want more advice on how women can be transformational leaders? Be sure to check out my book Captivate
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- The formula for fascinating conversation
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- The art and science of understanding people
Learn the new–science based way for winning friends and influencing people.