Three Learnings from The Art of Leadership for Women

Happy Monday, Team! A couple of weeks ago I attended the Art of Leadership for Women. This event featured Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and bestselling author, as well as many more incredible women sharing insights and easily applicable tactics on improving ourselves personally and in our careers. I wanted to share a few of the things I learnt that really stuck with me.

LADIES WHERE YOU AT?

Women represent only 5% of the CEOs on the Fortune 500 list. In venture capital (the business of investing into new companies, normally referring to the technology industry) only 2% of the funding goes to women. Emily Chang, Bloomberg Television and author of Brotopia, presented her concern of how women are not represented equally in the most impactful industry of our lives — technology — and how critical it is that we are a part of these conversations and development. She gave the example from an interview she did with the founding team of Twitter. They admitted that it’s likely that if they had women on their early team, Twitter wouldn’t have the harassment issues it does. This is an interesting article in Wired if you want some stats on women and diversity in technology.

GROWTH AND COMFORT DO NOT COEXIST

The concept of failure and how that impacts my behaviour is something I’ve been thinking about. Author Laura Otting shared the following idea. Girls are often commended as they grow up for being good. For doing what they’re told and for behaving. We become accustomed to being good and over time we don’t want to be anything other than good. The issue is growth happens when we’re on the edge of what makes us good. It’s when we push out of our centre of excellence. This was an a-ha moment for me as I’ve been intentionally doing more work out of my comfort zone. I’d never thought about it from this perspective.

AN EXERCISE IN SELF-AWARENESS

Dr. Tasha Eurich was reporting on self awareness and shared that if asked, 90-95% of people think they are self-aware. However, studies have shown that only 10-15% of people truly are. So basically, we’re mostly delusional. Women tend to rank higher with self-awareness but also tend to underestimate how others view them. Therefore, she suggested the following exercise to help improve self-awareness by seeing how people really see you.

  • Email 8-10 people of mixed backgrounds (bosses, colleagues, friends, etc.) and say to them “I’m doing an exercise in leadership development. I’m wondering if you can help me by answering the following question: what qualities do you most appreciate about me as a leader? Can you give me 1-2 examples?”

Given that women tend to under value, this can be a very empowering opportunity to truly see ourselves in a positive and accurate light. She also noted that when exploring the concept of self, we often ask the question why. Why are we like this? Why did we do that? Why do I feel like this? Instead of asking why, which can lead to an emotional or victimizing internal response, we should ask ourselves what. The question “what” allows for a more productive internal conversation by focusing on learnings and therefore can create a more empowered mentality.


These are a few of the things that really resonated with me so I was excited to share. I hope there was something here that you found helpful!