There are all sorts of stereotypes about gender differences in businesses. Men are reportedly more competitive in business, and women are more focused on personal achievement and independence. Women are said to be better listeners but are also thought to be too nice. Men are said to be confident to enter higher-level roles and situations meeting only some of the criteria, while women are said to enter these situations only when they’re sure they have every box ticked and everything required.
While there are some truths to these generalizations, they might not be your truth. What’s more, when it comes to being an entrepreneur and a leader, these are not the things that you should be focused on.
So, what does it take to be a great leader as a woman entrepreneur?
Here are 7 leadership tips that every female entrepreneur needs to know.
1. Separate Management and Leadership
As an entrepreneur, you know a lot about passion and heart-fuelled visions, making you the perfect leader. But you may feel the need to morph yourself away from these heart-driven pursuits to be more head-driven, as being logical and analytical seems highly prized and valued. While management is something to work on, it is not the same skillset as being a great leader. To be a great leader, you need to embrace your passion and allow it to be your superpower.
To become a great leader you will be in a strong position when you embrace your emotional self. Allowing yourself to influence others and avoid those apologetic moments when you are driving your passions forward.
2. Be the Role Model of Learning for Your Team
Be the person that has a constant desire to be a better leader and who strives to be a better person for your business. By being the person who learns and demonstrates your learning to others, you are already practicing strong leadership.
Leadership requires a set of intangible facets of personality and good character, so working on yourself is more essential than you know. For example, understanding what triggers you to anger and what motivates you to greatness will help you work with the grain of your character rather than against it.
3. Plan More Than You Act
When leading, it’s tempting to always be seen to be actioning projects. You want to appear dynamic and as the person driving the business forward. However, you need to plan for success and be aware of the possible outcomes. It’s not just about appreciating risk and reward; though this is important, it’s about understanding the cost of commitment before you decide to act. Your decisions not only impact you, as a leader they significantly impact your team.
During your planning, you will see a path to communicating the vision of your action to the team. Helping the team understand what you want to do and why and how it will transpire will get the buy-in you need. You can only offer these insights if you have spent time ideating them before acting.
4. Be it Don’t Say it
If you’re constantly declaring yourself the leader of a group, you probably aren’t. Instead of saying it, show it. Have a strong character and show courage in the execution of your ideas. Be expressive and be resilient to pushbacks.
To gain the respect you desire as a leader, you need to offer your team a level of authenticity and honesty. Respect cannot be demanded; you need to tell the truth and also be open to hearing the truth from your team. Dissent is not a lack of respect but a sign that you are willing to be supported by your team’s expertise. When you listen to your team, you invite them into your vision.
5. Choose to Work With the Right People
As an entrepreneur and leader, you are in the driving seat, however, you need a good group of people around you to support you in the journey. As the leader, you get to choose who those people are.
Getting the right people on board requires you to personally feel good about the hires you make. While personality is a poor marker of talent, your sense of whether the person will fit in is essential to the workings of your team.
Recruitment is not a task to be delegated in the early days of your leadership. You need to be involved directly with the hires to ensure that the core group of people around you is fully in line with your vision. When your company grows, you can then afford to allow your team leaders to take on this responsibility. Until this time, be involved in who you choose to lead.
6. Trust Your Intuition
Intuition is often dismissed. It’s hardly scientific to say, “I have a feeling about this” or “I spotted something icky about that.” People in business are likely to raise an eyebrow if your intuition tells you that it’s a good idea or a bad idea to pursue.
But that feeling you have is a gift. It allows you to feel into a problem and focus your mind on a solution. When something feels right, you will go ahead with more conviction. Your feminine intuition is a strength, not something to hide away from in a masculine space.
7. Break Free from the Idea of Gender
Ultimately, as a leader, you need to create a culture of competencies that moves beyond any generalizations about gender. Every individual who approaches your organization needs to be judged on their technical and professional expertise and the qualities that they offer to your organization. As a leader in business, you are now part of the solution for taking gender off the table.
About the author
This article was written by Nick Cooper. Nick is a blog author at NCC Home Learning. Nick has fantastic industry knowledge, allowing him to produce high-quality content on a range of topics that are most relevant to NCC.