One of the most commonly asked questions I get is ‘what is it like to to be a woman CEO?’. I have always found this question super interesting. As I have been in multiple leadership positions, I never really considered myself to be on an uneven playing field just because of my gender.
Throughout my career, I have had more time to reflect on this through natural observation. I have realized that sometimes women’s more empathetic, compassionate, emotional sides were deemed as weaknesses when in leadership roles. In fact, there are so many times when I would see women leaders feeling the need to be harsh and hard in order to be “respected”. I believe, in most cases, that is actually unnecessary.
A mistake. A self-inflicted burden. What a shame and disservice to everyone! While recognizing this, I have naturally learned some pretty important life lessons. I have learned it is in my best interest to lead with sincere empathy, real compassion and confidence. I have learned that my role doesn’t require the need to be harsh or scary in order to be respected. I have learned that I want to be a leader who leads by example and not by fear. My hope is that both men and women start to embrace how refreshing it is to have confident, empathetic, compassionate leaders at the helm.
True leadership starts with leaders who will recognize and embrace these amazing qualities. No better time than now. The world is a-changin’.