Leading the Service Industry Blog

A Series on Leadership: Best Tips for Approaching Leadership as a Woman

by Mary Kennedy Thompson on July 12, 2016

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“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.    -- John Quincy Adams

I’ve always believed leadership does not need to be gender biased. Leadership in its purest form is by example, and requires no title to be a leader. More and more leadership positions are being filled by women. It’s an exciting time watching new leaders shape the world.

Four female executives were asked to give their best tips for approaching leadership in the workplace as a woman, and this is what they shared:

  • Invest time upfront in finding the right hires
  • Look for complementary skill sets
  • Communication is key
  • Put people ahead of yourself

I’ve found the following suggestions are a good place to begin when you’re new to leading a team.  Putting your focus on team building and team management creates synergies that produces strong results.

Put work into building your team.

Hiring the right people will allow you to create a team that will make your visions realities, as well as expand on those visions and create new ones. If you invest this time upfront, you can avoid taking the time later to clean up issues that could’ve been avoided. As Jim Collins said in his book Good to Great, first who then what.

Balance out the team’s skills.

Knowing the skills you need to bring onboard to complement your own is important. Build a team whose ideas build on yours in the best way possible. Take a moment to inventory where you or your team is missing key traits or skills, and use that list to help fill in the holes.

Communicate.

Keep the communication lines open. Not only should you feel comfortable talking to your team, your team should feel confident they can come to you about situations that may arise. When things go wrong, communicate how things should have been done and why things occurred the way they did. Confront problems head on and encourage your team to do the same. Colin Powell once said, “The moment your people stop bringing you their problems, they either believe you don’t care or you cannot do anything about it.”

Put others ahead of yourself.

When there are issues, confront them with care; when good things are happening, give loud and public praise. Share your vision with all on your team and let them know how you see them as part of the solution – how they can use their skills to help push the company forward. Great leadership is about serving others.  Helping them be the best version of themselves. 

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Mary Kennedy Thompson

Mary Kennedy Thompson has a long history with the Dwyer Group and now serves as the company Chief Operating Officer. Mary is an expert in business, franchising, leadership and plumbing!

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