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16 Best Kept Secrets of Influential Women in Leadership

by Ana Lopez
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CEO of Roxanne Derhodge Consulting, the authentic connection movement. Mental health and wellness keynote speaker and consultant.

While women make up more than half of the current workforce, only a fraction hold senior and leadership positions. So, how can we combat some of these invisible barriers? As an executive woman, business consultant, and psychotherapist, I’ve learned that we benefit greatly from authentic relationships, both in our personal and business lives. They pave the way for knowledge sharing, career development and fulfillment.

To help like-minded individuals, I’m asking other female leaders to join me businessroundups.org Business Council Women Executives Group, a community I lead, to share the invaluable advice they’ve received that has helped them achieve success.

1. Trust your intuition.

Women are often socialized to doubt themselves and question their choices. But our intuition is a powerful tool and it’s important to learn to listen to it. In leadership roles, there are often many competing demands and it can be easy to get caught up in trying to please everyone. Always trust your gut and follow your heart. – Ronke Komolafe, Integrated physical and behavioral health alliance

2. Say no to any role that denies you cerebral equality.

A company executive once approached me to do their business development work. He said, “Just bring in the place with food and drink customers and I’ll get the smart guys to take over.” In addition, my mentor said, “Say no to any role that denies you cerebral equality.” This advice not only helped me make good decisions, but also gave me confidence that I have a lot to offer. – Anjali Sharma, Story: the business of stories

3. Don’t be afraid of a challenge.

See every obstacle as an opportunity to learn and grow into an even better version of yourself. Also know how to accept help when it is offered and how to ask for help when it is needed. We all have different strengths, but we can all learn from each other. When we do this, we form a community stronger than anyone could ever be alone! – Mega Yum, MSA Security, an Allied Universal company

4. Develop other leaders.

“The greatest quality of a leader is the ability to develop other leaders.” In my organization, I hold nothing back from my team, from specific skills I’ve acquired over the decades to my way of thinking. I teach them everything, and I only hire those I see staying with us for the long haul. I focus on teaching excellence in all areas, not just their work. – Kayla Barnes, LYV The wellness area

5. Know your worth.

Truly the best advice I’ve received from other women entrepreneurs and leaders is to know your worth. This extends to all areas of our lives as female leaders. Don’t let others tell you where you fit in because you may be pigeonholed or restricted simply because you’re a woman. Never forget the blood, sweat and tears of a small business owner because they are your heart. – Dana Neger, HIVE Talent Acquisition Firm

6. Stop apologizing or over-explaining.

In a leadership program for women, an executive told her to stop apologizing for everything and also explain why she was late or unable to attend a meeting. Instead, simply say thank you for your patience and indicate that there is a scheduling conflict. – Jodi Daniels, Advisors Red Clover

7. Ask for what you want.

My best advice for female leaders or aspiring leaders is to never be afraid to ask for what you want. So often we assume that a goal or an option is out of reach or not possible. But I’ve found in my career that all I have to do is ask, and lots of options become available – even options I didn’t even know existed! – Jordan Fischer, Octillo

8. Lead from the couch.

The best advice I’ve received actually came from WOLFPACK: Coming together, unleashing our power and changing the game, by Abby Wamback. She discusses leading from the couch. I’ve received more compliments for my leadership style and how I showed up, even when I felt like things weren’t going the way I wanted. These are, in my opinion, the moments that really pushed my career forward and allowed me to show my true character. – Danielle Levy, Danielle Levy & The Boardroom League

9. Ask “why” questions.

As a woman in leadership, I believe in listening twice as much as speaking and asking “why” questions all the time. I am amazed at how talented and skilled other people are, but they lack the confidence to share their opinions and thoughts. Whether you believe their positioning or not, we should always thank people for their contribution and honor them for participating, even if we disagree. – Angie Noll, Reconciled solutions

10. Don’t be afraid to use emotion when making decisions.

The best advice I’ve received from my mentor is to not be afraid to use emotion to make decisions in my business. At the end of the day, we are human beings who work with other human beings and that’s because of empathy and understanding, but also strategically. I’ve found that my team and my clients really appreciate this, and it also helps me build closer relationships. – Hani Anis, kahani digital marketing

11. Always be true to your core values.

Think about how those values ​​are formed in you and how ingrained they are in who you are. When making decisions, knowing your true self will help you make the right ones and know when you stray from the path! – Joan McKinney, Aurora Exhibit Solutions, Inc.

12. Get comfortable with public speaking.

Everyone should work on their public speaking skills – it’s the best thing you can do for your business and your career. (This is advice I’ve taken to heart, as a TEDx speaker and speaking agency owner!) It’s so important to make connections with prospects, customers, partners, investors, and the press. – Bobby Carlton, Innovation Women, Innovation Nights, Carlton PR & Marketing

13. Don’t doubt yourself.

Too often, women feel they need more experience and education before they can move into leadership positions. Often it is because we suffer from imposter syndrome and feel that we are unable to lead like others. The advice, “stop doubting yourself if you want to be a leader,” helped me change my mindset and gain confidence that I can lead and that I am capable. I pass it on to my mentees. – Emilia D’Anzica, Grow Molecules

14. Learn the difference between mentors and sponsors.

The best advice I received was to learn the difference between mentors and sponsors. Mentors help coach you, guide you to the right opportunities and talk about difficult situations at work. Sponsors would jump at the chance and offer you the promotion or the next big career move and then continue to support you in that role to lead to success. – Sonia Gupta, Change care

15. Remember that success is not linear.

The best advice I’ve ever received is that success isn’t linear, and I always come back to that when I’ve had a setback or become impatient with my progress. For women, I think we’re under a lot of pressure to get work and life right at the same time, and that’s very difficult and unsustainable in the long run. Give yourself a break and define success for yourself. – Nelle Callahan, Frontwood Strategies

16. Practice servant leadership.

You can be a servant leader by 1) serving your people and anticipating their needs, 2) empowering and growing each team member to unleash their potential, 3) choosing ethics over corporate profit, 4) psychological safety build within your team to build trust, and 5) clarify the positive impact and meaning behind your talent’s work by living and breathing your organizational purpose. – Andrea Vanacker, SPARKX5


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