I read an article recently which identified five essential skills necessary for women in leadership roles. The article implied success as a female leader in one’s professional life is not possible without Leadership Training, Confidence Building, Decision Making, Networking, and Critical Thinking. As I thought more about it, what struck me were the distinctions women often make between skills in their professional lives and skills in their personal lives. Yet, if you look at this list, a stay-at-home-mom is just as likely to demonstrate these skills as a female corporate executive. Let’s take a brief look at each skillset.
Leadership Training – In most American households, women and moms are definitely leaders (as single parents) or co-leaders of the family along with husbands. We often describe leadership as the ability to inspire and motivate followers. Every day, moms around the country send off their spouses and children with inspirational and motivational words of encouragement and wisdom to get them through the day; through that tough exam, or during those difficult interactions with bosses or colleagues. Women demonstrate inspirational and motivational leadership every day with their immediate and extended families and friends, and with bosses, direct reports, and colleagues. Leadership Training: Check!✔️
Confidence Building – Nearly every one of us has gone through a bad patch when only our mommy will do. We look to our moms to understand us, cheer us on, remind us we can do it, tell us when we are wrong, and praise our accomplishments. Smart women I know recognize when they need to seek out others to help them build and maintain their confidence. Thus, in my experience, women have really great skills to both build the confidence of others, and seek it from others for themselves. Confidence Building: Check!✔️
Decision Making – The life of a woman on any given day is a non-stop series of decisions from breakfast to bedtime. Throughout the day she makes decisions to benefit her children, partner, family members, colleagues, bosses, and a host of others. To do so she takes into account a myriad of variables, factors, and desired outcomes to arrive at the best solution. She identifies and solves problems, makes decisions, and then executes the best solutions. Decision Making: Check!✔️
Networking – We consider a network simply a collection of relationships. And who in the household more typically takes responsibility for the nurturing of relationships than the female role in the partnership? Relationships make the world go ‘round. According to research, the way women’s brains are structured help them to quite effectively build and maintain relationships—in both their personal and professional lives. Networking: Check!✔️
Critical Thinking – Most definitions of critical thinking I have read indicate it is thinking about things in certain ways so as to arrive at the best possible solution or conclusion given the circumstances. Frankly, it sounds quite similar to problem-solving and decision-making skills we addressed above. Critical Thinking: Check!✔️
Conclusion: I suggest success as a female leader begins in your head. Believe you can! On a day-to-day basis, you are already using all the skills you need to succeed as a leader at the highest levels of most organizations. You are already running households and families using methods which are just as effective in your workplace. Take the time to identify which skills you use at home are transferable to your office. You may be surprised at how many of your skills and abilities are applicable in both settings.