Women in Leadership

I have been fortunate enough to have strong female role models in leadership.  It has never occurred to me that women weren’t as strong, competent and skilled in leadership as men are.  It helps that I have grown up with the example of strong female leaders that have been role models to me.

My mom was the first of these and was the reason that I grew up believing leadership is a quality and not a title or position.  It wouldn’t matter if my mom was running a bake sale or an organization, she has a natural ability to lead; she takes accountability, takes responsibility for decisions and gives credit to the team as a whole for success.  She creates a vision and communicates it to others in a way that makes them want to follow her.

My mother is currently a respected leader and manager over many processes.  I believe she encapsulates a lot of what John Quincy Adams said about leadership: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”  A testament to this is not only the children she raised to do all of these things, but the countless employees she has had that she has empowered to reach their potential as well.  There are many people out there who would gladly credit my mom for nourishing those seeds of potential.

In elementary school, my fourth-grade teacher was another example to me of someone who inspired me as a leader.  She was kind and compassionate, but firm and fair, too.  She had a knack for making us all behave better than we otherwise did, and for bringing out the best in us, and at such a difficult age. 

At work, there is a woman who supervised a team of her own but was also the chairperson for various company celebrations for recognitions and holidays.  She led by example, putting in the effort, leading with great integrity and managing to get others on board to help her even when it was well outside of their responsibility to do so.  I often volunteered under her, simply because she was inspiring to be around and I was happy to help someone like her succeed.  And she fully understood that leaders need their teams to be successful in order to succeed as well.

All of these examples are from women who understand the value of others, and of themselves.  They see people as their true resource, not the things.  They agree with the sentiment that when you take care of the people, all of the objectives will take care of themselves.  Success, in their eyes, was not measured purely in the metrics, but in the development of others and developing a team of people working together to achieve something bigger than just self-interest.   

Leadership is serving others, and I have been blessed to have such wonderful real life models of this.