Real Women, Real Questions (RWRQ); Leadership. Life. Work.The Women In Defense (WID) Palmetto Chapter hosted a leadership summit towards the end of 2017. I led two sessions—Growing through Disruption: Leverage the Power of Change for Career Success and Elevate Your Presence: Stand Up and Stand Out When Speaking and Leading—and invited attendees to submit questions.

Several women responded with leadership or career development questions on cards or notes. These include how to find and pursue roles a person really loves, attributes of great leaders, how to effectively communicate affirmatively and bring high energy to the table without being labeled aggressive or bossy, how to identify and transition to a “what’s next,” and many more. Over the next weeks, I’ll be answering these questions and offering resources, links, or opportunities for further exploration.

Our first question asks, “What is the benefit of being in a leadership position?” Let me start my answer by separating leadership and position. Here’s why: you can demonstrate leadership at any level and in any role. However, what our participant might really be asking is the benefit of holding a position of authority—one that’s higher up on the org chart. And, is it worth the effort to get there.

I think it’s really important for women to aspire to and attain positions of authority. We benefit from moving up by having greater access to information and decision makers. We grow and develop through increasing levels of meaningful, challenging work. We gain a more holistic view of our organization and how the parts work together. Over time, we become decision makers and enjoy opportunities to broaden our influence and our impact.

Organizations also benefit as women increase their rank in a hierarchy, especially in traditionally male dominated environments. Women offer different dimensions of thinking, problem framing and solving, communication, collaboration, and leadership approaches in the workplace. Research demonstrates the value of diverse thinking modes in generating innovation and avoiding “group think” or failure modes. Additionally, organizations benefit by intentionally sponsoring women’s growth and development, and supporting efforts to reach back and mentor individuals who hope to achieve higher levels.

Do you have thoughts on this topic? I’d love to hear them. Feel free to respond on the LEADistics Facebook page, or using the contact form.

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