Heart-forward leadership is effective: five ways women can lead with bravery

boss internationalwomensday intersectionality leader leadership respect womensday2022 workplace Mar 08, 2022

by Anne O'Connor

Happy International Women’s Day 2022!

There are a million and more ways to celebrate how women contribute to make life better. Women leading the way is one of those important ways.

The research is clear—companies that include women in leadership positions do better. Women make up about 29 percent of senior leadership positions and most companies now have at least one woman in senior leadership. Still, CEO positions are dominated by men—women hold only about 8 percent of these top roles.

But whatever her role, women lead. Here are five ways we can all lead that are as effective as they are refreshing and true to our hearts.

  1. Value love and connection. We all do better work when we place our humanity at the center of our decision-making, planning, and workflows. Well-considered colleagues are happier and more-productive workers. The number one reason that people leave their jobs—the biggest prompter of the current Great Resignation—is a toxic work environment. Building and honoring our relationships is fundamental to leading well.
  2. Approach boundaries consciously. Some boundaries should be broken. For example, go and develop relationships with people outside of your day-to-day circle. Make a point of breaking any boundary that is held to exclude. On the flip side, build, express and hold clear and useful boundaries that support clean interactions and respectful consideration of one another: call out the nonsense, friends.
  3. Embrace “both/and” thinking. There are mountains of good ideas—remember that you are a full-spectrum human being and that you can hold and expand your ways of seeing to include many paths and many ideas—even as they seem to conflict. Question “either-or” thinking and ask: how does each idea fit? Expand to meet the rich fullness of the world and you’ll have better ideas and better relationships.
  4. Say what you’ve got to say. Yes, be mindful of when and how you say it. Get clear for yourself what you need to say and if it’s difficult, you may check it out with a trusted colleague first. But be wary of withholding—especially with the big stuff. Your task is to create transparency in a way that supports your relationships and the work.
  5. Trust yourself and your colleagues. You can trust yourself and rely on your way—in part because you are expansive. In part because you’re truly connected to your colleagues and having genuine exchange. So go ahead, try that wild idea and see what happens. We will love to follow you.