Focus on what counts

How Should Women Lead?

September 8, 2016
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Stacy Gilbert, Citrin Cooperman partner and practice co-leader of the firm’s Restaurant and Hospitality practice, along with marketing manager, Vicki Dill, authored the (September 6, 2016) NJBIZ Citrin Cooperman Corner article, “How Should Women Lead?” where they discussed women’s natural leadership traits and how to exhibit those traits in the workplace in order to become successful leaders. Read the full article below. 

How Should Women Lead? 
Leadership is not a new concept for women – they have been running the show for years, both at home and in the workplace. Women are master problem-solvers and multi-taskers; they know how to secure resources and do more with less, and they are highly collaborative – they build an infrastructure around themselves while maintaining their status and position within their realm, all to accomplish their goals.

Women possess natural leadership traits, but those traits are often undervalued. Success for women as leaders in the workplace becomes not a question of can women lead, rather it’s being able to exhibit those skills in their leadership roles. So, how should women lead?

Lead with knowledge
Women who want to be good leaders need to invest themselves and become knowledge seekers. The best women leaders are well-rounded people – they can tell you who is topping the Billboard charts and discuss hedge fund strategies, while they take in a ball game. Women leaders see the world through a lens of optimism and opportunity, often times seeing what others do not see. To be good leaders, they need to be inventive and curious – to stretch their perspective and broaden their observations to be able to see beyond obvious details.

Lead with conviction
Women leaders understand survival, renewal and reinvention. At home or in the work place, when women see difficulties or inefficiencies, they take charge – they have fortitude and are not afraid to fight for change or an opportunity to achieve something of significance for themselves and their domain.  Women do not want to depend on others for their advancement so they have sustained their motivation for independence.  Women leaders use their independent thinking to help them stay focused on their objectives. If they know that there is legitimacy and practicality behind the vision, nothing will stop them from achieving what they want.

Lead through collaboration
Women understand the value of collaboration and are admirable team players.  The most successful women leaders don’t seek to be the center of attention but to center the group’s attention. Good leaders can laser focus the desires and the intentions of the group in order to unleash the group’s ability to create a ‘reality’ it agrees upon and aspires to. What drives good leaders is the ability to influence positive outcomes with maximum impact – not to be best in the world, but to bring a vision to life that is best for the world. 

Lead with respect
Women value respect more than recognition – an identity that matters and a voice that is heard – this is often why they seek to prove their value by exceeding performance expectations. Successful women leaders don’t rely on favors or exceptions; they earn respect and truly believe they can influence their own advancement by supporting others.  Good leaders don’t allow their egos to stand in the way of good business – they are in the mindset of doing things well, doing them with integrity and getting things done for the betterment of a healthier whole.

Lead with an open mind
Women naturally ask a lot of questions.  This trait provides a great opportunity to find common ground with others – to gain collective insight by mining the wisdom of your team.  Your team will appreciate your interest in their input and that you acknowledge what they are passionate about. Additionally, your solution may not always be the best solution. Smart leaders understand that you need to allow for the possibility that you can be wrong and that surrounding yourself with the right people and giving them a voice will lead to decisions that are for the good of the organization.

Share your story
Our wisdom comes from the stories of our lives – the moments of hardships, triumphs and turning points. Great leaders share their stories, and not just what happened, but what they learned from it. On September 22, 2016 Citrin Cooperman’s 3rd Annual Women at the Wheel will feature some of New Jersey’s greatest women leaders telling their stories.  Come get inspired – see below for information.
Being in the professional services business and working with business leaders, we come across many women business owners and entrepreneurs, lots of whom start a business because of an inborn inclination to build and to give life to their vision.  The women that we see become successful leaders are the ones that take the time to learn how to lead by employing the natural and instinctive abilities they have nurtured within.