Leadership Matters

Feb 15, 2023 | Uncategorized

Finish this sentence: A leader is…

Perhaps phrases like “a good listener”, “a mentor”, “someone who inspires and motivates”, “compassionate and caring”, “someone who gives purpose and direction” came to mind. But the truth is, leadership today is all these things and more, and it matters more than ever.

That’s why NAWBO HQ was thrilled to bring women business owners together in Long Beach, California, last week to adapt, sustain and grow as leaders together. You can read a recap of our 2023 Leadership Academy in this issue of NAWBO ONE.

So what does it take to be the best kind of leader for right now in this time of remote work, hiring challenges, increased employee demands, environmental concerns and economic uncertainty? A recent People Matters blog gave this advice:

Build resiliency: Continue to build resiliency in yourself and your team by taking charge of how you think about crisis and adversity. Be swift in your decision making (even when you don’t have all the answers).

Give your people a voice: Some of today’s most complex problems cannot be predicted and come with a lot of unknowns. Approach these by constantly seeking diverse opinions, and giving your people a voice.

Embrace digital literacy: Automation, cloud computing and analytics are digital competencies you can use to boost innovation. Embrace these and other new technologies and encourage your people to do the same. 

Listen and empathize more: Actively listen to your people not to react, but to take in what they say and fully understand it. Employees need to feel like you care about and value what they bring to the table. 

Have a growth mindset: A fixed mindset is limiting—a growth mindset, on the other hand, propels people forward. Build a culture where people feel safe and can learn from their trials and errors.

Strengthen trust: According to a Harvard Business Review study, 60% of workers say executive-employee trust is paramount to satisfaction. Create a high-trust environment where people can be their true selves.

Focus on well-being: The scars of the pandemic remain, and have led to burnout and the reevaluation of priorities for many. Make supporting mental health and wellness part of your workplace culture. 

Commit to diversity and inclusion: Continue to build a diverse pool of talent and ensure everyone feels included. Invite collaboration, foster feelings of safety and belonging and promote transparency. 

Be a leader coach: Strive to build an environment where all your people can contribute and flourish. Become a leader coach who constantly enables, engages, elevates and empowers. Remember, the best leaders are those who create more leaders.

Now, finish this sentence again: A leader is…

Hopefully, your mind is open to all sorts of exciting possibilities for how to strengthen your leadership to benefit yourself, your business, your NAWBO chapter and more this year.

—Karen Bennetts
  2022-2023 NAWBO National Board Chair

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