Women who Lead with Courage Change the World

To the women that have stepped up to lead against the odds, your courage is a special kind that has contributed to some of the greatest human achievements known. And to all the aspiring female leaders out there, believe in yourselves, because with you at the helm, we can change the world!

You don’t have to look far to come across outstanding examples of female accomplishments. Names like Rosa Parks, Wangari Maathai, Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel, Jacinda Ardern, Oprah Winfrey, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg stand out, but there are so many more on an endless list. All these women boast giant hearts and have risen above a deeply institutionalised belief that leadership is a man’s game, which makes their achievements so much more remarkable.

What is the reality for women in leadership?

For us to appreciate the success that female leaders like these have carved out we must ask what women are really up against in highly competitive environments. When Ruth Bader Ginsburg, former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States attended Harvard University in the 1950s, she was 1 of 9 females in a class of 500 people. That’s 1.8% female representation, which tells us a bleak story. What’s even more concerning is that she was vilified for taking up 1 of the 9 female class seats, which, in the eyes of authorities, should also have gone to a man.

Today in 2023 a lot has changed, yet, in many business environments, there’s still a lingering belief that demanding leadership roles are best suited to men. Many females have also succumbed to this unconscious bias, and now for them to achieve a significant level of success, they must overcome the additional challenge of their own limiting beliefs.

Female leaders have a unique and powerful set of skills.

Today’s employees are faced with complex challenges that ask a lot mentally, and emotionally. Covid exposed the need for leadership to be more empathetic, emotionally intelligent, and highly skilled when it comes to communication. Women in leadership have risen to the challenge and have approached these organisational difficulties in a way that displays authentic and heartfelt care.

A 2021/22 McKinsey & Company Women in the Workplace report found that employees were more likely to highlight their female managers as the ones who offered emotional support, checked in on their overall well-being, and helped them navigate their work-life challenges. A further look into female management styles, also suggests that women in leadership roles place a high value on teamwork, encourage diversity, promote inclusion, and are more likely to show vulnerability which is a critical building block of trust.

For us to evolve beyond the challenges we’re facing in the world and business today, we need to encourage and support women at every step of the journey so that they’re inspired to believe in themselves and empowered to explore their purpose as leaders. On her path to making a massive impact on the world, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was faced with endless obstacles, but she had more self-belief than any challenge could match. This is exactly the mindset we should be fostering and coaching in aspiring female leaders.

Coaching helps female leaders unlock their potential.

Organisations that nurture and inspire self-belief in their employees set themselves up for long-term wins. Professional coaching is a highly effective tool for empowering female leaders and helping them access their unique and much-needed signature style of management. These initiatives are especially effective when they’re embedded into company cultures.

We may not know exactly what the future of business has in store for us, but we do know that with more strong, authentic women in leadership, we’ll be prepared to achieve truly amazing things!

As a leading provider with 25 years of experience coaching leaders in blue-chip companies and government, Change Partners is perfectly positioned to help you advance.

Dr Loyiso Mpuntsha is an International Executive Coach at Change Partners with a wealth of experience in business, coaching, and mentoring. She offers integrative and impactful coaching services and is passionate about helping others achieve their full potential.

Contact her at loyisompuntsha@change.co.za or on 082 555 9330 to help you take your performance to the next level.

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