The pandemic changed every one of us for better or worse, and for many (especially women), it shifted how we lead ourselves in our businesses and personal lives. Perhaps with care and attention.
While the global crisis had a disproportionate effect on women in the workforce, it also presented an opportunity to lead bigger and bolder moving forward. It’s what women do when we want to create change.
Striving for gender equality in the workforce isn’t new information. The underrepresentation of women at the leadership level is also not new information and though we still have work to do, we also need to create new leadership behaviours of leaders and establish new cultural norms.
Defining what sustainable leadership behaviours look like today and in the years to come that inspire, motivate and embrace the wholeness of who we are as individuals.
Overworking ≠ Success
More hours ≠ someone who’s committed
The bigger the title ≠ more important
Seniority ≠ leadership
These are long old sayings that have been part of the work culture for years. They simply need to go. They send the wrong message and don’t demonstrate what the world needs in leaders for today or tomorrow.
Leadership is a series of behaviors, an action that shows others how things can be. It’s time for women to show what sustainable leadership looks like for the future of work.–Lisa De Nicola
Over the past year, leaders have adjusted the way they lead, responding to new challenges and also doing more with the same amount of time and in, many cases, fewer resources. In other words, it’s a perfect recipe for overwhelm and burnout.
Something I’ve noticed in my female leader clients recently is efforting to the point of exhaustion. They’re trying to keep up with it all, trying to do it all, trying to manage it all and trying to get it all done, only to face the reality that they’re the only ones trying to do it ALL.
Meaning, they can’t, and they’re wondering why. Hint, you’re not supposed to do it all. This goes for both women and men.
When they look at their male counterparts, they don’t see the same level of stress. They don’t see the same frantic behaviour trying to jam back-to-back meetings on any given day and coming out at the end of the day still having so much to do.
Ok, well maybe they’re not completely stress-free, yet there IS a difference in how their male counterparts are managing and leading. The behaviours are just different and it’s time to evolve.
With so many shifts and changes to how we work and our overall lifestyle, it’s time for women to lead, the change of what new leadership behaviours look like. Whether you’re leading in crisis or leading through innovative times, the old “work hard, play hard” isn’t just dated it’s not sustainable in the future of work.
This goes beyond creating more inclusive work environments, making overall flexibility in work itself and work environments a norm vs. a nice to have, creating more equality-based policies and programs. These are all important challenges to overcome.
New behaviours mean leading in new ways. Without asking for permission and instead, creating new cultural norms that set an example of what it means to lead and prioritize yourself as a human being over simply the role or position you hold.
It means embracing wellness and wellbeing as part of a company culture over metrics and productivity.
(You don’t have to earn your rest).
It means honouring a work pace that looks different than the traditional 8 – 12-hour days.
(You can still be productive if you don’t work 8-hour days. That doesn’t make you lazy).
It means taking wellness or simply – days off to prioritize health, family or personal care.
(You can take a day off because you need one).
It means redefining what success looks like when aspiring for a leadership role that doesn’t include working around the clock or jumping through hoops like you’re trying out for a circus act.
(You’re recognized for your experience, character and all skills you bring to the table. Period).
It’s a shift in perspective, a shift in leadership and women are key to rising to the occasion and lead by example. They don’t need to ask for permission. They don’t need to tell you what they’re doing differently. They’re just leading.
I’m curious, what new leadership behaviours do you think we need to see more of in the workplace?
Let me know in the comments below and remember. If you’re questioning whether your style of leadership is what’s culturally accepted when creating change, it’s going to look different and it’s OK to go first. Be bold enough to make moves bigger and louder.
With so much love,