Let me just give you a bit of back story, before I get into this – I’m not sure how I got to be this lucky, but recently I was insanely lucky enough to be approached to attend a Women in Leadership conference/summit that was being held here in Brisbane. I was initially reluctant to go, as I’m not really a leader. At least, I thought I wasn’t.
I’m not a manager – turns out there’s a different between the two.
I naturally lead. I can’t help it. It’s just something I’ve always done, even from a young age. I was always “Little Miss Bossy Boots” (and let’s not even start on why a strong female is considered “bossy”, shall we?) so it’s always been natural for me to lead. So maybe this summit was a good fit for me – and a brilliant development opportunity.
So off I went. Conference’s usually drain me – predominantly because when I go to one, it’s usually technically focused and I’m trying to cram so much information into my head in the shortest time frame possible. So I expected to be tired and lethargic and almost unenthusiastic when it was all over.
Boy, was I wrong.
I have never felt so energised and inspired than I had after listening to this amazing group of women speak, and to mingle and talk with other women in organisations similar to mine who were facing similar obstacles. It was truly awesome. I absolutely loved it.
I took pages and pages of notes, simply because I wanted to make sure I didn’t lose any of the inspiring quotes and bits of information they provided me with. And I wanted to be able to look back on those two days and remember what people had said – and my memory isn’t the greatest at the best of times, so writing things down seemed to make sense…I just didn’t realise how much I’d end up wanting to take away with me!
So I’m going to very briefly list the points that I found the most inspiring (and these are in no particular order and are attributed to the women who spoke!):
- Be authentic, transparent, honest and open
- You can’t do it all
- You can’t please everyone
- Admit your mistakes – don’t hide them
- It’s not about you being the smartest – it’s about being around and collaborating with smart people
- Don’t be threatened by smart people!
- If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing – change it!
- Ethics and morals are important
- Put yourself forward – don’t say no to opportunities just because you’re scared
- Trust yourself and you abilities – you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t have the ability to do the job!
- Fight your own battles – don’t expect others to always fight for you
- Pick your battles carefully
- Correct bad behaviour – do this respectfully, it’s all about how you respond
- It’s okay to say “I don’t know”
- Know when to be quiet
- Never be completely afraid of failure – what have you got to lose?
- Have the courage to follow your dream
- Equality does not equate to “sameness”
- You do not need to be in a leadership position to lead – but it helps!
- “The behaviour you walk past is the behaviour you accept”
- Don’t worry about those who talk behind your back – they’re behind you for a reason!
- Never be afraid to ask for help
- Lead by what you see – walk the walk
These are the main points I’ve taken away that are applicable to *everyone* – not just women. I’ve purposefully left out the female-focused points and will save them for a different post at another time.
There are always things you can improve, things you can do better, skills you can learn – but your fundamental personality, the thing that makes you *YOU*…that can’t be easily changed. It’s who you are. It’s the reason you are where you are today.
What I find the most inspiring about this is that the main theme that came through was the very top point – by authentic, be honest, be open. In other words – BE YOURSELF.
So – to be a good leader – be the best YOU that you can be!