While there are certainly more women in leadership positions these days than there used to be, statistics show that there is still a lack of females in corporate leadership roles across the globe, particularly when it comes to CEO and board positions. Whilst structural change is needed to support and promote women in leadership there is nothing wrong with being strategic and proactive in setting yourself up for success. Through DCC Jobs*, it is easy to find and evaluate employers with policies in place that are genuinely focused on attracting and retaining top female talent.
If you want to become a top leader in your field, it is important to think about what steps you can take to develop your strengths as a leader. Read on for three of the most important things you need to do when aiming for a leadership position, no matter the industry you’re in.
1. Learn Something New Every Day
One of the first things you should do if you want to be at the top of your game is learn something new every day. The best leaders are always those who continue to be open to new ideas and experiences. Having a growth mindset, rather than a fixed one, will help you to develop new skills and see opportunities that others don’t, as well.
There are lots of different ways you can go about expanding your knowledge base, and you might want to try a number of them over the years. For example, if you’d like to get an all-round education in business, consider enrolling in one of the many MBA online programs available these days which enable you to fit study in around your work and schedule. MBA degrees and similar courses are helpful in that they give you an overall understanding of many different elements of running a venture, plus give you a chance to develop relationships with other like-minded people.
If you prefer short-term or less structured study, you will find plenty to learn in books, blogs, magazines, reports, newsletters, and webinars. These types of offerings can help you to build up an understanding of current trends and happenings in your industry, as well as brush up on specific topics like leadership, marketing, sales, HR, technology, accounting, and customer service.
You will also find there are lots of talks, workshops, seminars, business conferences, networking dinners, and other kinds of educational events held through the year that is worth attending. These gatherings can cover particular subject areas or have a broader scope. It is worthwhile, too, to join local, national, and international business clubs and associations if you want to broaden your entrepreneurial horizons.
2. Develop Helpful Personal Skills
Keep in mind that to be a top leader you must demonstrate a variety of helpful personal skills. There are many different skills worth fostering in yourself. Passion, for instance, is important because it helps you to keep on going when things get tough in business — which they invariably do at some point if not all the time when you’re starting out with a new venture. Being passionate also rubs off on people around you, and helps employees to be more motivated on the job, investors more interested in funding your ideas, and customers more keen to buy from you.
Adaptability and flexibility are also invaluable traits because let’s face it, things certainly don’t always go as planned when you’re running an organization. Time and again you will likely face setbacks, obstacles, complications, competition, and other things that you must work around, or new directions you need to go in.
Being adept at changing course and adapting to issues that arise (which could be anything from your products not arriving on time or as expected, to new government regulations or laws being put in place) will help you to persevere and, sometimes, even come up with innovative solutions that become a real point of difference for your business.
Being a top communicator is another personal skill that all entrepreneurs need to develop if they want to be successful over the long term. This involves being able to get across your wants, needs, concerns, expectations, and motivations to others (including staff members, investors/lenders, journalists, customers, advisors, and more), and being adept at listening, too.
3. Surround Yourself With The Best People Possible
When you read interviews with or autobiographies of, some of the world’s most successful business women, invariably you hear them talk about the people in their lives that helped them to get to the top. This is because being a businesswoman isn’t about doing everything by yourself, but rather putting together a team of people who are smarter than you in the areas they work on, and who will be there to support you along the way.
To lead a venture, it is important to learn how to delegate to others, as well as how to listen to the opinions of those you trust. Try to find some mentors and advisors you can turn to for emotional support, business advice, and more; plus, over the years, as your organization progresses, a team of employees, suppliers, consultants, and others who you can rely on to help you grow your business.
*This article references Diversity City Careers or DCC. This is what WORK180 was known as when we first launched back in 2015. You can find out more about our story here.