Women in Power Rule the World - or do they?
Are you influential and impactful in your work as a leader?
Influence is a big topic with long-lasting impact. If you have it, you can change the world around you, for better or for worse.
Looking back over the past 5 year's, I believe as women in power and leadership roles, we are starting to understand the strengths we bring to the workplace; we are starting to realise that from a neuroscience perspective, these strengths often complement those of the opposite gender rather than oppose them.
And this is a good thing, because we don't want or need to become more like men - no offence to our male counterparts out there!
We need to acknowledge, recognise and leverage our feminine strengths as women who lead.
Women in Power Use Influence for Maximum Impact
The trick of influence however is not in the “wielding of it,” but rather the intent with which you wield your power.
Let me explain what I mean:
- If your intent in influencing others is to create a win-win for all concerned, you will find your relationships being deepened and trust and respect a common ally.
- If on the other hand, you come from a place of fear or threat as so often happens in workplaces where politics raises its ugly head or there is disagreement and conflict that is not managed positively, you will often find influence being used to compete and where comparisons lead to lowered self-esteem and in-fighting, passivity and disengagement.
Ultimately influence is a personal journey which starts with you recognising who you are and what you want from life in order to go after it.
Along the way, you will need to enlist the help of others who are on their own journey's in order to achieve what you want. If you can collaborate, you will both benefit and that is the best goal of all!
An Inspirational Woman
Jo Burston, serial entrepreneur and CEO and Founder of inspiringrarebirds.com has been doing some incredible work over the past 10 years in the world of business. She shared valuable insights over the weekend at a Key Person of Influence conference I attended in Brisbane. She is an excellent example of someone who understands her vision and strategically creates opportunities that allow her to identify win-wins for those critical to her success.
An incredibly powerful question she challenged us with:
"Someone woke up with more than enough of what I want - how can I find them?"
Big take-outs on Influence from Jo included:
- Create partnerships where there is value exchanged and a win-win is created for both parties - no exceptions!
- Simultaneously develop a network of varied and influential contacts AND develop relationships with key people on a deep and authentic level
- Identify a top 20 list of people you'd like to meet over the next 12 months and then reach into your network and relationship base to make this happen
- Prune your "tree"- regularly make sure you are lovingly letting people go who are not contributing to your vision
- Be very, very clear on your vision and what you want to achieve
Following onto Jo's wisdom, I want to explore some of the critical questions you should be using to help you gain perspective and identify the gaps in developing your influence as a woman in the workplace - a quick note: these are equally important for our men out there!
The idea behind this is to allow yourself space and time for reflection in order to assess and work out where you are and where you'd like to be. Influence is about getting the balance between reflection and review and implementation.
Using the right questions to develop your impact, power and influence as women in power:
I stands for Identify
- Can you list your top 3- 5 strengths in the workplace?
- How do you currently use them in building relationships? (on a scale of 1 - 10 - 1= not doing this, 10=comfortably doing this)
- What's one thing you could do right now to action one of your strengths?
N stands for Networking and Key Relationships
- What are your strategic goals for networking?
- Who have you identified as being "key relationships" in your network - and are you building these relationships?
- What opportunities do you take to help others in your networking?
- Do you sell or do you look for opportunities to create a value exchange in your conversations?
- How can you develop your network to include people who are NOT like you?
F stands for Forgiveness
- When last did someone hurt or slight you in the workplace – and have you let it go?
- Do you regularly review those things that are holding you back in an effort to work through them in order to move forward?
- What one action can you take to empower yourself around letting a situation that is currently holding you back, go?
L stands for Love
- How do you show care and respect in your workplace towards those you work with?
- How do you show self-care to yourself?
- How often do you skip a meal or eat at your desk?
- How often do you ask yourself, “What's the best thing I could do for myself right now”?
U stands for Understanding
- How well do you know the team you work with?
- What boundaries do you have in place for managing your time and those you work with?
- Do you solve pressing problems for your staff where appropriate?
- What opportunities are there for sharing more of yourself with your team?
C stands for Curiosity
- How can you cultivate a genuine interest in the people you work with, even if you don't really like, admire or respect them?
- How can you actively engage with others more genuinely?
- What one question could you ask of someone to show interest in them?
E stands for Energy
- What kind of energy would your work-mates describe you as having – loud and outspoken or quiet and thoughtful or somewhere in between?
- What energy do you believe you show based on the above?
- What is the gap between your truth and others' truths?
- What can you do to bridge the gap?
Developing your influence, power and status is critical to your success as women in power. The questions above are intended to get you thinking and discussing with others what influence means and how this should play out in the work you do in a way that builds your power in positive ways.
If you enjoyed this article and are serious about developing your influence as a woman in the workplace, find out how we develop Women's Leadership.
Until next time, I will see you at the top!