1. Leadership starts by being kind to yourself
We constantly make negative self-assessments by judging ourselves harshly and holding ourselves to impossibly high standards. Becoming an effective leader starts by truly accepting ourselves for who we are and how we are: the more we resist and reject ourselves, the harder it becomes to grow into the best version of who we can become.
2. Business game is a competitive game, learn the rules and play the game
Women who would like to move up into the executive ranks of a male-dominated company have to “play the [man’s] game” in order to advance in their career.
3. Tools to play the game
Being a good leader involves a number of skills and qualities:
- Having high self-esteem, confidence and empowerment are required to play the game
- Be true to yourself and cultivate a deep and trusting relationship with yourself
- Communicate with impact, how you talk gives you power and enables you to maintain a position of authority and influence others
4. Personal branding
Personal branding is how others perceive us and not how we feel about ourselves. First impressions count – in fact only 7% of what is communicated is with words, 25% is voice tone and 68% is appearance and body language.
Women need to enhance and promote their brand first of all by not apologising for things which are not their fault, like for example, if someone bumps into them. Women should also actively participate in meetings without waiting their turn to speak. They need to promote themselves and take part in active negotiation to demand what is deserved.
5. Promote yourself
Personal branding is one of those things that many professionals (especially women) push to the side in favour of more ‘important’ parts of their careers, like excelling in their current job responsibilities. Your brand is your reputation. Use your work to promote yourself and your team, and to inspire others. Consciously and proactively take the opportunity to take credit for your own accomplishments.
6. Be visible
Leaders need to be visible, not just at the workplace but also outside the office. How people perceive you is vital to a successful career. Manage your image and cultivate allies/supporters through networking.
When you need help, you need to ask for it. Asking for help does not make you look weak. On the contrary, this means you can focus more on the task at hand. You are also creating opportunities for others to learn.
One should also ask for things in order to achieve them. Women often do not ask for things as they fear rejection, however, a ‘NO’ could be due to a number of reasons.
8. Business development is about forming relationships
Building meaningful relationships will go a long way towards success in business development, and it is therefore essential to remain in touch with clients. It is important to listen to your client rather than talk about yourself, in order to understand their needs and demonstrate that you are genuinely interested in them. The minute clients feel neglected, they will move their business elsewhere.
9. Deal with conflict in a way that is not personal
Women tend to see conflict as disruptive and therefore take it more personally than men would. However, conflict should be seen as a tool to solve problems. It is important that when in conflict women (and men alike) should remember that it is the problem or situation that is being targeted and not the individual.
10. The ambassador principle: each member of the team is important
Diversity outperforms conformity. Team members having similar strengths may tend to compete, rather than cooperate to achieve goals. A good team is made up of balanced teams, with players who are action-oriented, people-oriented and idea-oriented.
Gender Diversity, Business Development, Innovation, Self-awareness and Leadership were the topics covered during the workshop "Woman@Mazars", a leadership programme dedicated to female talent at Mazars which aims at retaining and empowering women to advance in their career within the firm.