I’ve seen advice to women, created by other women, encouraging boldness, sharpness, and wisdom with the aim of developing stronger leaders. There are wonderful stories of women who have applied these learnings to truly inspire the world we live in. However, a lack of self-awareness in balancing these lessons with the question, “How much is too much?” can affect some women in the workplace.
Self-awareness is crucial in creating a society that will support women leaders trying to raise their leadership standards to have a positive impact on people’s lives. Taking into consideration the bigger picture in any situation is so needed, and self-awareness allows us to manage it better.
The following rules aim to impact our lives not because we are women, but because we should aim to be better leaders and human beings to sooner build a more tolerant society with more common sense. Leading with a positive impact comes down to enhancing our notion of self-awareness.
Rule #1 – Walk the Talk.
In a world of kindness, mindfulness, and good leadership standards, it is key that when we encourage these traits and concepts, we “walk the talk.” Shouting in order to be heard and never accepting being interrupted are examples of behaviors from leaders who are not self-aware. Alternatively, they may be self-aware, but are still in the process of learning how to leave a positive impact through their leadership and management standards.
A few good practices that leaders can do in order to exemplify self-awareness while achieving what they want include:
- Aim to create a fair atmosphere to give your team a chance to speak. Distribute corporate gifts amongst the entire team. Discuss any issues with the people involved before escalating to senior management.
- When questioning the success of a project, let your team prove itself to you, and more importantly to themselves, by giving a chance for them to show simple steps of progress. You will also feel more comfortable with the end result.
- Encourage your team to enjoy working with people who are more skilled than they are. If you show how much you learn from the proactive and talented team members you hire, you can also show them that it brings higher standards to the company when everyone learns together.
Rule #2 – Be Confidently Kind.
Through my Brazilian culture, I learned that keeping harmony in a group is the key to social engagement. Living in the Middle East, I learned that women do have critical thinking worth sharing. Being kind may be perceived as weak, while being critical may be perceived as judgmental or difficult.
We just need balance. My energy makes me come across too bold sometimes, but I constantly remind myself to keep a smile on my face whenever I feel this is the case.
Rule #3 – Give Context So Emotions Are Better Managed in the Workplace.
Reinforce your communications to be extra-clear at all times. Give context to opinions, decisions, and processes to set expectations and clarify questions. We need to be more self-aware about things we do and say. People can follow our way of thinking to either better understand us or give us better contributions.
Feedback and questions raised are not necessarily criticism or attempts to bring you down. These could offer good opportunities for you to take a step back and learn how to be a better person and professional.
Rule #4 – Convert Fear to Fuel.
Although I look fearless, I have plenty of fears that I just don’t show. Adapting the sentence, “A woman’s gotta do what a woman’s gotta do” is how I face uncomfortable situations, and allows me to move forward in life.
This is easier said than done, but our life experiences, even when they are not easy, just make our journeys more interesting stories to be told publicly, privately, and to future generations.
Ludmilla Figueiredo is the founder of Rule Number One, an initiative to bridge growth and investment opportunities for startups and SMEs across markets. She is a member of the leadership team of Singularity University Global Summit in UAE. After winning three global entrepreneurship awards with her team in Brazil, she was invited to launch the Endeavor Global’s operations in the UAE, in 2011. Since then, she joined an international Equity Crowdfunding platform as Head of Business Development.
Originally published at www.ellevatenetwork.com