Look Down, Look Out and Look Up
I am a firm believer that both men and women can be exceptional leaders. Exceptional leaders are authentic, insightful, innovative and willing to coach those around them. Yet, women face a unique set of opportunities and challenges in the workforce; some because of how we are naturally wired and some of how the workforce is structured. As a leader, I encourage you to look down, look out and look up.
Growing up, when I walked out the door to go do something that was hard or stretched me a bit, my dad always said, "keep your head down and a short back swing." As a golfer, this was his way of saying, “keep your eye on the ball and you got this.” Women are naturally wired to engage in many activities; work, family, social activities, community service, etc. It’s easy to get overcommitted. Where do you need to look down, keep your eyes on what’s already on your plate and continue to achieve great things?
Sometimes, however, when you are striving to achieve, life can get very intense and stressful. For years, my family volunteered for a program that provided 2,500 lunches to kids in need. It made us realize that the people we were helping looked a lot like us—a couple changes in circumstances and it could be us. It reminded us our current stress wasn't quite so big and it felt good to give to someone else. As women, we often get bogged down with the stress that is right in front of us. How can you look out and change someone's life in the midst of your own?
Leaders are achievers. As women, sometimes we play it too safe because we don’t want to overcommit or feel the weight of so much already on our plate. Take some risks and be willing to set a goal higher than you think you can achieve and go after it! Learn and try something that is a little different—hang gliding, learning about a new culture, or whatever peaks your interest. Consider engaging in conversations with people that aren’t like you. Listen to their stories and learn how they are similar as well as different. Where do you need to look up and challenge yourself in a new way?
As a leader, when you look down, look out and look up, it can change you. Are you willing to give it a try?
Susan Rozzi is the president of Rozzi and Associates, a leadership and organizational development company helping good leaders become great! Our programs start with the premise that great leadership skills are a product of time, practice and focused development. Our leadership development, emotional intelligence insight, and career management programs can be customized to meet your desired outcomes and needs. Contact Susan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(This blog first appeared in January 2019 issue of the Hendricks County Business Leader.)