4 Tools for Finding Your Way: A Guide for Women Leaders


As a woman leader, the tools you need to navigate your career and build your leadership skills may look slightly different than those for men. According to the Center for Creative Leadership’s Sara King, it’s especially important for women leaders to:

  • Seek out mentors and advocates. Successful women are shown to have had help from above. Build relationships and find a mentor to help you navigate your organization, provide feedback and open doors.
  • Take risks, accept challenges. Being able to adapt to new roles and new circumstances shows your versatility as a leader. Research shows that women who have stayed in one area of expertise too long or who have too-narrow a functional orientation are not viewed as promotable, so be willing to change jobs and take on special projects to gain experience.
  • Be decisive, demand results. Successful women leaders make it clear that they expect results. They also need to be decisive and willing to take an unpopular stance.
  • Be confident. Projecting an effective leadership image requires confidence. Don’t undermine good results with a weak or too-modest self-image.

Do you feel that the tools you need to help you grow as a woman leader are different than that of your male colleagues? If so, why is that? 

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About Leading Effectively Staff

The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL®) is a top-ranked, global provider of executive education that accelerates strategy and business results by unlocking the leadership potential of individuals and organizations. Founded in 1970, CCL offers an array of research-based programs, products and services for leaders at all levels. Ranked among the world's Top 10 providers of executive education by Bloomberg BusinessWeek and the Financial Times, CCL is headquartered in Greensboro, NC, with offices in Colorado Springs, CO; San Diego, CA; Brussels; Moscow; Singapore; New Delhi - NCR, India and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Its work is supported by 500 faculty members and staff.
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One Response to 4 Tools for Finding Your Way: A Guide for Women Leaders

  1. As a woman who held her first leadership position in elementary school (without realizing that was what it was) I have learned and observed a few things about leadership over the last 40 years. One thing that has been increasingly apparent to me, is something that I just read in Tina Fey’s book “Bossy Pants”. Instead of trying to help women figure out how to better adapt to the male leadership paradigm, we need to focus on “demasculinizing America”. Why? Because the workforce is increasingly female and diverse. So the male-dominated leadership approach that has worked for the industrialized economy over the past 50 years is becoming less competitive on the global platform. I would love for the next blog topic to be “4 tools for Men to be more effective leaders in an increasingly diverse and female dominated work force.” For that blog post I would suggest the following tools: 1. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know” because you can’t know everything. 2. Credibility is to your credit, when you screw up, own it. 3. Listen more and talk less. 4. Leadership is shared throughout the organization, seek it out at every level.

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