By Dr. Dawj Sangster
How can women enhance their future? To enhance the future of others, an individual has to understand her culture and history, and the pioneering women that helped to shape and mold her life. In consideration of the “good” women leaders, consider women who have made a positive impact on the lives of other women
There are women that had positive role models who helped them become the awesome women they see in the mirror. In reflection, it may have started with big momma, grandma, nana, great grand ma; and those that go far back into the family lineage. These women fought hard and long, enduring tough times (i.e. the great depression, floods, earthquakes, fires, slavery, concentration camps, etc), to be a pillar of strength for the present and future generations. There are also women that may not have been a part of the personal family, but helped to influence the women in the workplace, community or with their education. It is important to appreciate those great women leaders for encouraging you to push those buttons, which placed you in the path of opportunities. What are some examples of good leadership? For example,
1. Utilizing skills- My great grandmother was a mid-wife. While she did not make much money, she was mostly compensated with food and other household items that our family needed to survive at the time. My grandma told stories of how some families could not pay money, but they paid with groceries and other things, to ensure the safe delivery of their babies. Leaders use the skills they have to positively impact those they encounter. They lead by example and are not afraid to negotiate for a win-win situation.
2. Learn by doing- My grandma cleaned houses and cooked to provide for our family; while ensuring that she instilled in my mom, the value and importance of family, work, and giving back. Leaders are not afraid to get their hands “dirty” and welcome the opportunity to not only do the work themselves if necessary, but they teach others important values for effective leadership.
3. Uplifting others- Mom was a nurse for years and loved cooking for the community and helping those less fortunate than we were. She still cooks for the sick, gives to the needy, and finds a way to give groceries to those that are hungry when she can. She is an advocate for encouraging others to be their best. Good leaders have the interest of their team at the front of their minds, and they encourage the team and is their biggest cheerleader.
4. Having a vision- When others don’t know exactly where they are going and why, it can be challenging to encourage them to go in that direction. A former female partner I served under for a women’s initiative was great at establishing the vision for what she wanted us to accomplish, but then helping us understand how important it was for us to keep that vision in mind in our decision making and daily tasks. Good leaders establish a vision for the team, help them understand the vision and how important it is to consider the vision in decision making, and ensure there is an adequate plan in place to accomplish the vision.
5. Collaboration- More can be accomplished when there are others that can provide insight into accomplishing tasks. Good leaders know the value in seeking input from their team members, and they value what they contribute in accomplishing the goals of the team.
As women, we are strong and carry the internal drive to be the best at what we do. All it takes is for us to make the commitment of being the best, and our actions can fall into place. If you see areas that you can improve on listed above, work to ensure that you do what it takes to live your best leadership life; on purpose.