Times have changed. In these more enlightened days, professional opportunities for women are increasing. How to take the greatest advantage of those opportunities, however, is a complex question.
The more women enter the world of business leadership, the easier the next generation will find it. But how do you set yourself apart as a female business leader? In this article, I’ll share a few approaches that made it a little easier for me as the owner of a successful franchise.
Accept and Promote Your Unique Strengths
You will always have something to offer that others won’t.
Are you creative? Are you good at solving problems with logic? Are you very practical and hands-on? Working on becoming an all-rounder is a good idea, but it’s also very important to have a more specific set of signature skills to fall back on that will always impress.
I came to franchise ownership from a commercial scuba-diving background where I consulted on film and television productions. This background allowed me to bring unique element to my new-found profession as a restoration specialist —clearing underwater debris.
As a result of long-standing attitudes within the education of young women, females are often expected to facilitate the success of others rather than pursuing their own. Undo any tired conventions of this kind by positioning yourself as an expert early on!
Work, Work, Work
As a woman, it’s likely that you’ll come to the world of business from a unique angle. Typically—though this does not go for all women—the go-to attitude with which girls are raised is to nurture and support rather than to drive or innovate.
This may mean that you’ll need to push yourself to the extreme. Work to get your head around your role as a female business leader—be an “ideas woman” and the one who gets things done.
All of this is in addition to the work that any business owner needs to undertake in order to be successful. In the first few months—perhaps even years—you’ll need to be willing to work twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to keep your project alive and thriving.
Of course, you’ll need to take care of your physical and mental health, too. After all, you are your business’s greatest asset. Just because you’re a strong person doesn’t mean you have to do everything on your own—that’s an unhealthy attitude.
Talk to people, surround yourself with supporters, and allow yourself downtime and a social life wherever possible. Don’t punish yourself or work will become more and more of a mental struggle.
Female Business Leaders Communicate
Don’t be afraid to delegate, make requests, and give advice where needed. These acts alone will position you in a place of authority and set you on a positive path to becoming a female business leader who will be respected, relied upon, and listened to.
Work on being concise, firm, and positive when giving instructions—while at the same time showing that you are a friendly member of the team who is willing to get her hands dirty.
Learn When Not to Compromise
Listening and understanding are important skills for any leader in the world of business, and this is one area in which a more old-fashioned upbringing may benefit females. Typically, girls are taught to emote and appreciate others’ feelings, and this can be applied to your work.
However, it’s also vital to know when to put your foot down and stand your ground. As an expert, you need to exercise your right to make an executive decision, politely reject ideas, and silence naysayers.
All of your decisions should be backed up with solid facts, and you need to be reasonable and fair. At the end of the day, though, you’ve gotten to where you are because you’re great at what you do, and that should be respected and taken into account.
I was lucky growing up in that both of my parents were involved in the world of business, which made it a significant part of my mindset and something that always felt like an option.
However, I appreciate that getting one’s head around the rejection of long-held societal beliefs to pursue a career as a leader in business may be very difficult for many women. If you’re kind to yourself and if you take to heart the above advice, things may come a little easier.
As a woman in a leadership position, I’ve found that calling upon my individual skills and abilities, putting in the hours and effort, working on my communication skills, and standing my ground have all stood me in great stead.
Today’s guest contributor is Jennie Mills, a female business leader who’s the owner of a Rainbow International franchise.
Image credit before quote added: Pixabay