4 Observations from Women in Leadership
“To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
We just celebrated the inauguration of the first female president here at Roberts Wesleyan College. She’s dynamic, energetic, genuine and creating the vision for our future. It’s an exciting time here, and I think she is the type of leader who is going to “turn it up to 11!”
Turning it up to 11.
It’s giving 110%. It’s educating the mind, engaging the heart and serving with your hands. This translates to finding meaning in whatever you are doing, and making a difference for your business and for those who look to you for leadership. Think about unlocking your own potential, as well as your team’s full capabilities. Create an environment that allows for innovation and engagement. Learn the strengths of your team and encourage specialization to take it to 110%.
Who are you as a leader?
Where’s your head? As part of her inauguration, President Porterfield created a “Thriving in Leadership” symposium. She asked women in leadership roles to talk about how they lead toward the fulfillment of God’s design for humanity and bring hope for future generations. Being a good symposium attendee, I took notes on what was inspirational to me — what could I apply in my own role as a woman who leads? Here are some thoughts:
- As a woman who wants to lead, you need to step into areas of leadership. This means having the courage to take on something new to develop your leadership skills. Imagine an experience that would be fulfilling as a leader. Would your vision have ideas that were creative? Would they develop quickly? Would they contribute to the success of your company? Are there ideas that are rooted in faith? Are you leading with a plan? If not, start being intentional. You can’t shoot without a target!
- As a leader, draw out and inspire the best in others. Use your heart. I have a person on my team who calls me “coach,” and I take that as a compliment. What this person is saying is that I teach and help her grow and develop in her role. Over the years, I have actively encouraged all members of my team to grow professionally and to strive for personal and professional accomplishments. As the coach, I want them to be the star players in their own roles. In the end, it’s a win-win for everyone.
- Serve your team with your hands, not team handling. Today’s fast-paced world calls for a fresh approach to leadership. Although some respect for leaders is inherent, the command-and-control style of the past is no longer well received. The modern workplace calls for inclusion and fostering an environment where voices and ideas are heard. Employees want to feel like they are contributing, collaborating with others and making an impact. It does matter, too, so bring in the right people who fit within your organization and listen to their voices, watch how they participate and recognize them for making a positive difference.
- Don’t forget the recognition! Acknowledge good work directly to the person who did it. Make them shine by sharing that good news with senior leaders. A quick email, a few words of praise and/or a formal recognition will go a long way toward establishing yourself as a leader who appreciates the hard work of your employees and vendors.
Now it’s your turn to reflect on women in leadership. Think of a woman leader you know — how did she embrace differences and create new thinking? How can you apply these concepts to your own projects? Use your head, heart and hands and make an impact! Turn it up to 11!
About the Author, Donna McLaren
Donna McLaren leads Roberts Wesleyan College’s integrated marketing and manages the brand as the Associate Vice President of Brand & Marketing Communications. Under her leadership, Roberts won two Rochester PRism Awards in 2014 for the college’s Higher Learning public relations programs. Prior to joining Roberts in 2012, Donna McLaren was Director for Branding and Advertising for Kodak’s commercial printing business. In that role, she managed a worldwide team in the development and execution of B2B marketing communications. She has more than 20 years working in marketing, product launch, and training in corporate America. She has been an adjunct professor at the College since 2006 and has taught in both the MSMK and MSL graduate programs.