Growing your Leadership Impact

With International Women’s Day this week, there’s been heightened focus on the contribution women make to the economy.

I do a lot of work in the ICT sector, where women are vastly under-represented, accounting for between 16 and 28 per cent of all jobs, depending on which study you read. However, within that industry, women account for 37 per cent of admin and support roles, suggesting that female representation in senior roles is significantly lower.

Research also suggests that most women are hesitant to put themselves forward for a new position unless they feel confident they can perform at the expected standard in all aspects of the role. By comparison, their male counterparts will confidently put their hand up for a job even if they’re only a 30-40 per cent fit, trusting that they can learn what they need in the role.

With recent developments in technology fundamentally re-shaping the way we live, work and play, it’s important that women have a stronger voice in leading this critical industry.

From where I sit, part of the challenge is that many women don’t actually see themselves as leaders and tend to hold themselves back, limiting their results and the impact they can have on their organisation or their industry.

They don’t have a strong identity as a leader and that is reflected in the decisions they make.

Because our identity drives our actions, behaviour and choices in all areas of our lives, we need to be very intentional about the identity we choose to adopt.

According to international success coach, Tony Robbins, “The strongest force in the human personality is the need to stay consistent with how we define ourselves.”

How you define yourself – your identity – dictates everything you do.

If your identity is that of a go-getting entrepreneur then you will act accordingly, but if your identity is more to do with always being polite and not making waves, then that is also how others will experience you.

Of course, your identity is the result of your beliefs and rules, most of which are formed when we’re very young. It’s incredibly important that we take time as adults to reassess those beliefs in order to ensure that we’re living up to our full potential.

After all, the world has changed a great deal in the last 10-20 years and looks very different than it did when most of us were growing up. We need to continually revisit the beliefs and rules that dictate our actions to ensure we’re not navigating through life with an out-dated map.

If you’re looking to play a bigger leadership game, then I invite you to try this strategy to start thinking and acting bigger:

Invest a few minutes to write down the identity you have for yourself as a leader and consider whether that identity is going to empower you to achieve your desired results.

What are the words you would use to define your leadership persona? Are you strong, flexible, resourceful, independent, outspoken, collaborative? Or are you more tentative, considered, risk-averse …

Write a list of at least 30 words and then add some more that you’d like to grow into. Be willing to stretch yourself and get out of your comfort zone, to think and act bigger than you have to this point.

Put that list where you can read it every day and commit to acting powerfully into those new words that you’ve chosen for this more evolved and conscious stage of your leadership identity.

And as you do … watch your life and your impact transform!

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