Hey there, amazing senior women leaders! I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to share some empowering insights with all of you. While we often hear that every day is a women’s day, it never hurts to remind ourselves and those around us about the incredible strengths we possess and the vital role we play in leadership.
You know, as women, we have some inherent qualities that we may not always recognize or give ourselves credit for. Both men and women possess masculine and feminine energy, but women tend to embrace and embody feminine energy more readily. We strike a beautiful balance by consciously developing masculine qualities such as determination, focus, and assertiveness, while gracefully accepting the tenderness, intuition, and compassion that come with our feminine energy. This innate ability to embrace our emotions sets us apart and makes us natural leaders.
Now, let me share some fascinating research conducted by Stanford University and Harvard University that supports our claim as exceptional leaders. It turns out that as we climb the corporate ladder, IQ alone isn’t enough. At the junior executive level, about 20% of IQ is essential, but beyond that, emotional intelligence (EQ) becomes increasingly crucial. And guess what? We, as women, excel in EQ. In fact, 90% of top performers have high EQ, and in complex job roles, these top performers are a staggering 127% more productive than their average counterparts. Impressive, isn’t it?
But sometimes, people misunderstand EQ, assuming it means being overly emotional. That’s not the case at all. EQ is about effectively managing our emotions and not letting them overpower us. It’s about harnessing our emotional intelligence to build strong relationships, empathize with others, and navigate challenging situations with finesse. Nature has endowed us with these qualities, giving us the potential to become exceptional leaders and conquer any obstacle that comes our way. So why do we still see so few women at the top?
The truth is, the barriers holding us back are often self-imposed. Let’s reflect together, ladies. Don’t we tend to strive for excellence in every role we undertake? Do we sometimes feel the need to prove ourselves more often than required or asked for? And what about the perception that we need to choose between a career or family when, in reality, we can thrive in both areas simultaneously? These limitations are created by us, but here’s the good news: since we’re the creators of these barriers, we have the power to dismantle them.
So, how can we break free from these self-imposed limitations? Here are a few strategies to consider:
- Ask for support: We often underestimate the willingness of others to lend a hand. Remember, parenting is a shared responsibility that should be tackled as a team. Instead of shouldering everything ourselves, let’s actively involve our partners in family responsibilities. It’s time to reclaim the partnership we embarked upon. When we genuinely seek support, we might be surprised by the help we receive.
- Mind your language: A language is a powerful tool, and it’s important to be mindful of the words we choose when communicating common responsibilities. For instance, instead of saying, “Could you please help me lay the table?” try framing it as a shared task, such as “Let’s set the table together.” By using inclusive language, we encourage everyone on our team or within our family to take equal ownership of these responsibilities. Small shifts in our words can make a tremendous difference in the support we receive from our environment.
- Put your hand up: Ladies, it’s time to claim what we deserve. Don’t be afraid to ask for that promotion, that specific profile, or more learning opportunities. When we put our hand up and express our ambitions, it signals to others that we are ready for growth and advancement. Surprisingly, research shows that 47% of men raise their hand for opportunities even before they feel fully prepared, while only 7% of women do the same. Let’s embrace that confident mindset and seize the opportunities that come our way.
I’ve personally worked on these strategies, and I can attest to the substantial growth and ease they bring to our lives. Whether as a senior corporate executive or as an entrepreneur, I believe we are all works in progress, continually evolving and learning. The key is to focus on progress and keep moving forward.
My fellow senior women leaders, until we take charge of our own lives, we cannot hold anyone else responsible for our limited growth. Hoping for a seat at the table is futile when we have the power to claim our rightful place on it. Let’s embrace our strengths, break through the barriers we’ve created, and unleash our full potential as leaders. The world is waiting for us, and together, we can achieve extraordinary things.
Author Yukti Kapoor Mehendiratta is India’s leading Transformational Leadership Coach, Entrepreneur, and Author. She is also a Rashtriya Abhiman Puruskar recipient and former Gladrags Mrs. India title holder.