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Challenging Times Call for Daring Women Leaders

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.” – Henry David Thoreau

This is planting season. During periods of challenge, planting seeds of hope, trust, and fortitude is one of the most vital functions a leader can perform. When circumstances seem to present insurmountable obstacles, people turn to leaders for inspiration, confidence, and a feeling of security, and they need to be willing to step up and lead without fear or hesitation.
Successful leaders understand that change may take time and business and economic cycles can sometimes last years. Leaders need to be willing to plant seeds that will bear fruit later. As they wait, they should be encouraging, reassuring, and supporting their teams and employees, secure in the knowledge that things will improve when the season changes. Also, reminding their people the seeds planted will be ready for harvest when the time is right.
Current times are challenging, but challenges can provide opportunities if we are willing to look for them and work through them pragmatically and purposefully. The financial industry has faced obstacles before and will again. It is the way in which we rise to these tests that will ultimately lead us through.
Our business leaders are being called upon to calm the waters and provide an example of confidence and hope for better days. These are the people we look to for reassurance and evidence of improvement to give us the guidance we need to work toward that day.
Times like this are the crucible in which leaders are forged and tested. True leadership is a product of confidence, willingness to take risks, and the ability to follow a vision that will show us the path to emerge from a crisis better and stronger than when it began. Choose Your Leaders
Effective leaders possess certain defining traits which, while challenging to master, facilitate and guide people and businesses through days like these. Successful leaders dare to lead fearlessly. They put anxiety and doubt aside and move forward despite them. This is not to say they act recklessly. Rather, they find the courage to stand by their decisions and show those who follow what it means to be bold, innovative, and willing to risk failure instead of accepting the cost of inertia.
Effective leaders make no excuses for their actions. They take responsibility for the decisions they make and for any fallout they may entail, whether positive or negative. Leaders who can plan, follow through, and accept whatever consequences result set an example of personal accountability and strength of character. They don’t assign blame to circumstances or their environment. They simply step forward, hand up, accept what happens, and move on.
These leaders do not download responsibility for mistakes onto those they lead or others who may be involved in decision-making. Nor do they accept all the accolades without acknowledging everyone who contributed to the success.
Strong leaders are visible and always available to their staff and teams. They are not people who just show up, dictate orders, and disappear back behind closed doors. These leaders are always in view and always ready to step in and step up when they are needed. They can be easily contacted and located and never leave their people wondering where they are or how they can be reached.
Confident leaders pass confidence on to their employees by leading with purpose and by example. Modeling a confident and courageous style of leadership provides followers the encouragement and vision to keep moving forward even when they feel fear or discouragement. By teaching confidence rather than coddling their staff, confident leaders offer support but don’t dictate without purpose or take over and try to micromanage when things are difficult. Instead, leaders confident in their approach and decisions involve staff in carrying out the tasks needed to succeed and keep moving ahead.
Written by Laura Brandao
About the Author >>>
Confidence means trusting your people to do their jobs and letting them get on with it. It also means accepting there will be bumps in the road but those can be weathered and corrected as projects progress.
Leaders who lead with a strong belief in their own abilities and those of their people are setting the example for those who aspire to lead one day themselves.
Women who lead in today’s business world need to be confident, strong, and responsible. They need to trust in themselves and let those they lead see them as strong but also vulnerable. There is value in allowing yourself to be seen as willing to make mistakes and take accountability for them. Taking risks can be achieved in a measured and pragmatic way that serves not only to boost confidence but also to allow for learning and growth even if things go wrong.
In today’s business environment, it is more vital than ever for women leaders to be bold and make their voices heard above the din. Women may lead differently than men, but this strength should be recognized and leveraged. Just as mothers and fathers may make different but equally valuable contributions to parenting based on their own experiences, so it is for male and female business leaders.
Female leaders should not be hesitant to bring their own strengths to the table. They should be true to their authentic selves in their leadership style and the decisions they are making. It benefits no one if women in a leadership role try to lead in a way not representing who they are but rather from a place of who they think they should be.
Women in leadership may be less aggressive or more nurturing than their male counterparts. They may speak more softly and react less strongly when confronted with similar issues. It is important for them to lead in a style that is real and reflects their personal strengths and beliefs. People know when someone is not acting in an authentic way and doing so erodes their trust in them and benefits no one.
There are certain keys to successful leadership which apply to both men and women. Building and maintaining a strong network of contacts is a major factor in being an effective leader. Now, more than ever, a solid network is of inestimable value. With so much staffing change impacting all levels of the corporate world, being visible and keeping in touch with contacts is not only prudent but vital.
Being decisive is another key factor good leaders employ. When a leader is seen to make decisions, follow through, and deal with whatever results, staff can trust them to be consistent. Trust is a necessary component of leadership to keep both the business moving forward and the momentum up even when times are challenging as they are today.
The Planting Season We may be facing hardship and uncertainty because the seeds of recovery and growth are only now being placed in the soil and not ready to feed us yet. We will have to wait, be patient, and tend the garden to eventually reap the harvest and find abundance once again when the season or cycle changes.
The seeds of hope, pragmatism, and trust have been sown by leaders who understand the importance of looking forward to the return of more normalcy and rebuilding that will come as the latest crisis passes.
Until the day we can benefit from the planting we have completed, leaders will need to be inspiring, innovative, and bold. They will be depended upon to model strength, decisiveness, and confidence, so those who follow them maintain hope and sight of their goals and aspirations.
Women in leadership are being tested now more than ever. We will continue to be challenged and expected to reflect courage and persistence even if there are darker days ahead before the harvest is ready. My firm belief is we will reach harvest time and will all benefit from the lessons we have learned during these most difficult of days.

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