In Focus: Leadership Is 'Personal, Not Positional'

By Kathy Gurchiek May 25, 2017

A leader typically is associated with a position such as CEO—an all-powerful person directing an organization from on high, like a general. In the past, women aspiring to such roles struggled against stereotypes of what it means to be in charge. But leadership requires more than just telling others what to do. The essential skills of effective leaders—such as clarity of vision, accountability, decision making—are not limited to one gender or executed in a particular way.

A Message to Inspire Women to Lead: Own Your Awesome 

After almost two decades on the U.S. women's soccer team, the best lesson this athlete learned is the diversity of leadership styles. 

"I'd always thought leadership was a CEO or president or person in a position of power," said midfielder Julie Foudy. "But my U.S. teammates showed me that leadership is personal, not positional. They showed me that asserting your own leadership style is most important — being authentically you." 

Understanding the Role and Responsibilities of Leadership 

As times have changed, so has the role of a leader. Today's leader is focused on identifying and developing talent while striving to create a healthy environment that allows people to use their talents and skills to pursue objectives. Creating such a work environment requires a leader to focus on instilling and reinforcing key values, on modeling proper behaviors, and on instilling a sense of accountability to help employees succeed. 
(The Balance)
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8 Ways to Become a Better Leader

There's more to leadership than having a high-ranking title and being in charge of a team. You might have the authority to tell people what to do, but if you're an ineffective leader, you won't be able to guide and motivate your staff to accomplish their goals.
(Business News Daily)

How to 'Soft Power' Your Way to a Senior Leadership Role 

Soft power is the ability to shape the preferences of others, according to the man who coined the term in the 1980s—Joseph Nye Jr., distinguished service professor at Harvard University and former dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.  In the business world, he said. "Smart executives know that leadership is not just a matter of issuing commands, but also involves leading by example and attracting others to do what you want." 
(SHRM Online)

Too Sweet, Or Too Shrill? The Double Bind for Women 

What explains the dearth of women in top leadership positions? Is it bias, a lack of role models, the old boys' club? Sure. But it goes even deeper. Research suggests American women are trapped in a paradox that is deeply embedded in our culture.
"It is really the very, very fine line of being a shrew on one hand and a puppet on the other that any woman in public life has to walk," says former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, a Democrat from Illinois. 

Is Your Organization on Target in Developing Women for Senior Leadership Roles?

Organizations often miss the mark in developing women as leaders, said Tammy Heermann, senior vice president for leadership transformation at Lee Hecht Harrison in Toronto. In most sectors, women are joining organizations in about the same number as men, and many are advancing to first-line manager roles. However, the leadership gap widens significantly at the senior level, Heermann said. 
(SHRM Online)

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