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18 Challenges Women Leaders Face and How to Overcome Them

Blog_Featured_Image_WOMEN LEADER

“Success is 90% mindset. You have to build the skill of managing your mind.” ~ Helen MacMillan

Whether you are seeking to increase your leadership position within an organization or want to achieve great things as an entrepreneur within your own business, there are certain challenges that, if you are able to overcome, will propel you to greater levels of success than you even dare to dream.

You may already have experienced a certain degree of success, and yet, you know you have more to offer and you want to gain a greater sense of accomplishment. You know you have more potential that hasn’t been developed yet. You feel like you can’t quite see what it is that is blocking you from accomplishing MORE.

Women need to do a better job of affirming themselves and becoming their own best advocate. We need to learn how to speak and act more confidently in a way that promotes us to a leadership-focused role.

Here are 18 challenges that women tend to face when developing into a leadership role, and tips on how to overcome them.

  1. Being confident

Confidence is the belief in our ability to succeed.

When we lack confidence, it’s not that we are less capable. It’s that we think we are less capable than someone else. How can we shift our mindset and believe in ourselves and our abilities?

We gain confidence by realizing that we know what to expect and knowing we can handle whatever it is. You build confidence by finding out what happens in certain circumstances (like a sales call) and practicing your response to it until you find out what works and what doesn’t. Building confidence is not something you gain by talking or thinking. You learn confidence by doing – taking action.

What situation do you want to build confidence in? What do you need to practice to believe you can handle it?

  1. Building a sisterhood

You can’t move up by yourself; it’s vital to have the support of other women.

Women approach networking differently than men. Networking events that offer women the opportunity to be more feminine (emotional connection, creativity, intuition, etc.) are essential to help us develop a more personal approach to integrated success. We need to focus more on self-development, sharing and intimacy within our close circle of like-minded, courageous women.

In what ways are you exploring opportunities to connect with other women who will help you grow personally and find the resolve and connections to transform your life, business and society? How am I supporting and empowering other women, showing humility, togetherness, passion, excellence and enthusiasm?

  1. Generating revenue

When it comes to business, money does matter. Money helps you solve problems; it gives you freedom and choices. Women find it difficult to focus on what generates revenue, but it is essential. After all, if you don’t have revenue flowing in, you don’t have a business – you only have a hobby.

What do I need to do today to get more revenue flowing in?

  1. Building alliances with decision makers

Women with aspirations are often put down, pushed aside, ignored or told they don’t belong “at the table.”

It is demoralizing when we get bullied, but there is a way to get past it. Work on building a healthy relationship with an advocate, mentor or teacher, create a strong personal brand, establish guidelines for each project you are leading, position yourself as the “expert” and communicate with confidence – no matter what.

What alliance do you want to build with a supportive decision maker? How will you approach them to ask for what you need?

  1. Claiming your position of power

In almost all parts of the world today, women are making formidable moves to take their place in a seat of power. We are taking on more risks and preparing ourselves to take on ever-more challenging responsibilities and roles. One of the greatest obstacles we face is being prepared to be a leader in the C-suite or own a successful business. BE BOLD and get clear about what you want. Be relentless in your preparation for the top. You CAN do it!

What leadership role do you want? In what ways are you preparing to get to that position?

  1. Asking for money

You won’t get the money you need (and want) if you don’t ask for it.

Many women shy away when it comes to money. We don’t charge enough, we are afraid to ask to get paid, we underprice our products, we don’t spend enough money on marketing and we don’t affirm our monetary value based on our knowledge, skills, experience and abilities. Sometimes we are so uncomfortable asking for money that we give away services for free.

Take the time to master sales and get confident in your products and services so you can price your value properly and gain respect.

In what way are you undervaluing your worth? What do you need to master to believe in your offer and garner the money – and respect – that you deserve?

  1. Standing in your success

Women have been socialized to be submissive and modest. However, in business, you need to speak up and “trumpet your own horn”. People won’t know what you have to offer if you don’t tell them!

If you are at the decision making or leadership table, you deserve to be there. Being a shrinking violet does nothing to boost your career. Make sure your voice is heard and taken seriously.

In what ways are you depreciating yourself? What do you need to do to let others know how amazing you truly are?

  1. Tackling imposter syndrome

Imposter syndrome is a real thing. It’s when we don’t internalize our accomplishments and feel like we are not worthy of our success. The way to work through this is to acknowledge each and every achievement and then get feedback from other leaders that validate your strengths. Facing imposter syndrome head-on will help you overcome it and develop your leadership further.

In what way do you feel like an “imposter”? What is the truth about your achievements? How do other leaders see you in terms of your leadership abilities?

  1. Overcoming perfectionism

So often, natural-born leaders are often perfectionists. But perfectionism can paralyze you from keeping a forward momentum happening. Find ways to help yourself relax and let go of perfectionism.

Here are some ways others have learned to overcome their perfectionist tendencies:

  • Take a break and relax
  • Deep breathing or short meditation exercise
  • Go for a walk or a run
  • Journal
  • Exercise
  • Read an inspirational book
  • Watch a TED talk.

Are you a perfectionist? If so, what has worked for you as a way to let go of being “perfect” in the moment? What new tactics do you want to try to help you learn how to let go?

  1. Trusting your own voice

It’s not enough to have a role or sit at the table. You need to speak up confidently, regardless of what push back you might encounter. It’s common for women to fear being rejected or ostracized, but we garner respect by making sure our voice is heard.

In what way will you make your presence as a leadership known as a collaborator and catalyst for good in the world?

  1. Shifting your word choice

Women need to be aware of how others are perceiving them when they are trying to be assertive. We want to be a respected leader, but sometimes when we try to be in the driver’s seat we are seen as “bossy” or a “shrew”.

The best way to deal with this is to shift from using judgmental to neutral words. This subtle shift changes the way other perceives the message but retains the speaker’s authority and leadership.

How can you express yourself using a more neutral tone? What do you disapprove of that you need to address? What neutral words can you include in your communications?

  1. Dealing with negative thoughts

Negative thoughts can be insidious and cunning. It’s so easy to let them take over your life like a cancer. Learn how to take control of your thoughts by first becoming aware of them and then deciding to either 1.) replace them with encouraging and positive thoughts, or 2.) accept them and move forward in spite of them.

What negative thoughts are holding you back? What encouraging or positive thoughts do you want to use to replace them? What challenges in your life do you need to accept and move forward from?

  1. Pushing boundaries

When confronted with a challenge, leaders look for the opportunity within. They push the boundaries and, when they experience an adverse situation, they learn from it and move on. Optimism is their mindset because they see the opportunity in everything.

In what way can you use your creativity and innovation to push the boundaries and take advantage of an opportunity in front of you?

  1. Thinking strategically

Successful women know when to be strategic, when to play the game. They know what cards to play and calculate when to make each move before they take it. A leader knows how to “read between the lines” and stretch their perspective in order to see the bigger picture. Leaders who don’t allow their egos to get in the way will focus on what it takes to make things better for the greater good.

What strategy do you need to use to solve a problem you are facing?

  1. Embracing your passion

Women have been criticized for being too emotional. But the reality is that all humans – male and female – experience emotions that can be leveraged to make necessary changes.

When we are not happy with the status quo we want to make things better. We are often just passionate explorers in pursuit of excellence. When women leaders decide to make a change, look out! We have the ability to harness our passion and become potent pioneers of new possibilities.

In what way will you harness your passion to make a difference?

  1. Taking control

Many women are natural-born entrepreneurs. We see the world through an entrepreneurial lens. We are experts at connecting the dots and developing relationships that get the job done.

Women entrepreneurs are extremely creative and resourceful. We take control not to necessarily take charge, but to make sure the momentum for the project is sustained and the goal is accomplished.

In what way do you need to take control to sustain the momentum of your work?

  1. Inspiring others

Many women leaders enjoy inspiring others. They know the secret of finding purpose and meaning in their work.

Women leaders know what it’s like to face challenges while maintaining the high standards that are required to be triumphant. They often have a nurturing side that makes them excellent listeners and exceptional relationship-builders. They have the innate ability to create ecosystems and collaborations that integrates the creativity and thinking of others and thereby expanding the possibilities in order to create a larger sphere of influence and overall impact.

Women who have learned the wisdom of not having to be right or the best at all times make good consensus builders and will more likely be able to facilitate a successful team environment.

In what ways do you inspire others? Who inspires you? In what ways would you like to be more like the people who inspire you?

  1. Balancing work and family

Women are often the glue that keeps things together. We are often the foundation of our family and use our problem-solving skills at both home and in the workplace. We know how to cement family ties and strengthen boundaries both at home and work.

Leadership, like parenting, is not always popular. Decisions must be made, deadlines met and accountability put in place. The mothers, wives, sisters, grandmothers, aunts and daughters of today are helping to form the workers and citizens of tomorrow. By leading our families and work teams with grace and kindness, and at the same time making the tough decisions when needed, we are not only creating a better today, but building a better tomorrow.

How do your family memberships inform and support your leadership roles? What adjustments do you need to make to better balance your work and family obligations and contentment?

In order to achieve success at anything in your life, you have to learn how to address and overcome obstacles. Most, if not all, women who aspire to leadership roles must face and conquer their fears and internal – as well as external – challenges.

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June 20-25, 2018

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Imagine… morning yoga on the beach, soaking up the sun, delightful island food, swimming with the dolphins and spending five days with me in Jamaica reconnecting with, and amplifying, your inner joy!

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September 28-29, 2018

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