Women Lead Differently

by Erica Quam

Women tend to adopt inclusive leadership styles. They are solution-oriented.  They get things done!

Women understand, appreciate, and identify with those around them.  Many times this style is looked at as "soft". However, this approach has helped women to build influence and make decisions that get more "buy in".

I had a chance to see Alyse Nelson - President & CEO of Vital Voices - speak this past weekend. Here are 5 main points from her keynote speech.  

1.  Women who lead have a mission and a motivation to lead a change.  
As a coach, you are leading teams.  You are part of something greater than yourself.  You have a driving force to teach and coach your athletes to succeed - in their sport and in life.  All great leaders have a driving force.

2.  Women who lead are involved in their communities. 
The only way to achieve a positive change is to play an active role in your community.  Participate.  Listen.  It is so easy to be negative and judge, criticize, and complain. That's the easy road.  The harder - and more effective - path is to get involved, identify the issues and problems, and take action to move forward.

3.  Women who lead cross the lines that typically divide.
Whether it's reaching across the line to really listen to someone else's perspective or taking time to share your own, great leaders bridge gaps instead of widening them. On most occasions, the more you actually tune in and listen, the more you may understand that the passion and values you share are more important than the beliefs that pull you apart.

4.  Women who lead bring BOLD ideas to life by BOLD actions.
Most women I know think outside the box.  In fact, many don't even know what the box is!  Don't be afraid to reinvent yourself and do something different that will make an impact!  Who cares if no one has ever done it that way before?

5.  Women who lead want to pay it forward.
When women learn things that are effective and help them, they share it with others.  Then the power of that knowledge and those actions expand - the very moment it is shared.

The truth is, no matter who you are, we can all learn from this.  We can empower each other to take small steps and move forward.  We can bring our vision for a better world to reality.

Lead relentlessly!

Dare a little more, risk a little more, do a little more.
— Hillary Clinton, Founder of Vital Voices

Want to learn more? Check out Alyse Nelson's book, Vital Voices: The Power of Women Leading Change Around the World.