Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, gave her top three tips for women aiming for leadership roles in her 2010 TED talk on Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders.
Her advice revolved around assertiveness, work-life balance with an equal life partner, and keeping focused and committed to your career instead of subconsciously withdrawing from opportunities in advance of the necessity to do so (to have children, for instance).
Here, three of La Trobe University’s experts to give their own top tips for your career as a leader.
1. Hone your emotional intelligence
Professor Suzanne Young, Head of the Department of Management, Sport and Tourism at the La Trobe Business School, gives these tips for women in business:
- Continually work on improving your emotional intelligence. This is not a static characteristic, but can be learnt and improved upon.
- Think strategically in terms of work priorities and activities you put your hand up for. Be proactive rather than reactive and move away from focusing on the details as you move up the career ladder.
- Expand your circle of influence through external and internal networks.
2. Lead by doing what you love
Dr Susan Inglis is a Professor of Practice in Management and Director of Executive Education at La Trobe Business School, where she teaches leadership. Her career spans more than 20 years as a management consultant, coupled with 10 years of postgraduate study in organisational learning, leadership and management.
Dr Inglis offers the following tips for women in leadership roles:
- Don’t be afraid to take up space – you have a unique range of gifts to offer the world, so share those gifts!
- Surround yourself with people who believe and support you and remind you of your strengths.
- It’s easier to lead when doing what you love. Reflect on what brings you joy and then go for it – create an opportunity to inspire others!
3. Make complacency your enemy
Former CEO of the Institute of Public Administration Australia (Victoria), Dr Geraldine Kennett, applies her business and collaboration skills to manage La Trobe Business School’s MBA Program. Her tips for women in leadership are:
- Play to your strengths – empower yourself by understanding your strengths and using them to overcome your weaknesses.
- Engage others – seek advice from those senior to you, motivate your peers and coach your staff for success.
- Make complacency your enemy – apply passion, performance and persistence instead.
Perhaps these points can be distilled into three:
- Know and trust in your knowledge and abilities.
- Look for opportunities to build your self-knowledge, skills and networks.
- Support and motivate your team to reach their potential.
As a woman in leadership, you don’t have to change the world single-handedly – but you can be part of the change. With passion, awareness and a drive to bring your team with you on the journey, there’s no limit to what you can achieve.
Become a business leader with an MBA at La Trobe University.