Leverage Leadership Opportunities
In honor of Women’s History Month, it seems only fitting to talk about women in leadership.
There have been times in my life when, much to my surprise, I have been chosen for a leadership role. I’m strolling along, locating my path and I turn around only to find people are following me. It’s at that moment that I am sure they didn’t see the bumper sticker stuck to my butt that reads, “Don’t follow me. I’m lost too!”
Then there have been times when I have been asked to take on a leadership role and, after a certain amount of arm twisting and cajoling, I agree only to fail somewhat or miserably. I did it for their reasons, not mine.
And then there was this time when I accepted what I considered to be an honor and an extraordinary opportunity of a brand new women’s professional organization. It was my job as president to lead by gaining commitment from and building teams achieving results with women whom I barely knew to offer resources and services to women I probably won’t ever meet.
Our organization’s board was made up of members who were volunteering and giving of their time, money and energy. They didn’t have to. They chose to. It was my goal to provide them with support and guidance on their path to leadership success. The following methods are ones that I used in leading our board and ones that can be implemented in any situation whether it’s in your workplace or on a volunteer committee:
- Evaluate your team: Recognize your team’s skills, expertise, abilities and capabilities.
- Be mindful of human behavior: Some need to know ‘why’ something is done, while others need to know ‘how’. It’s important to keep pace for those who are faster thinkers and decision makers while allowing time for those who require it to contemplate and think through the options and outcomes.
- Assess job preferences: Build teams based on different motivations of the individual team members and the job they each prefer to do. There are those who prefer the creative process while others just want to execute or get the job done. Still others are able to advance the project by bringing together all the components. And then there are the refiners. They ask the questions and point out why this may not work and send the creators back to the drawing board to ensure a positive result.
Understand communication and behavioral styles: Consider what each person’s communication and behavioral style is, and look for their reasons ‘WHY?’ their motivation. People are motivated for their reasons, not my reasons or sometimes even the organization’s reasons. It is extremely important to understand that one person’s motivation may be very different from another’s, and yet everyone needs to work together to accomplish our goals – the ones agreed upon as a board and as an organization.