Fear of not being liked is the primary reason women give for not becoming leaders. But Dr. Lois Frankel says that women are confused. Women make phenomenal leaders; they just don’t call themselves leaders. As President of Corporate Coaching International, Lois writes bestselling books, speaks to international groups and convinces women how to overcome obstacles to become a leader.
Women have a great track record of leadership. The Red Cross, Planned Parenthood, the PTA and United Way were all founded by women wanting to make a difference. Yet many women allow the fear of negative labels to stop them from being appropriately assertive, negotiating for success, pursuing non-traditional careers or even recommending other women for management positions.
Accept the Image of a Leading Woman
Lois says that even though women lead every day, they often think it’s presumptuous to call themselves leaders. While practicing psychotherapy with powerful women in downtown Los Angeles, she found that every one of them failed to see herself as powerful or a leader.
However, if you have ever convinced anyone to follow you where you need to go, you are a leader. In fact, Lois says if you have helped a friend leave a harmful relationship or raised a child who is not hooked on drugs, you are a leader.
Likable Is Not the Same as Being Nice.
Women reportedly didn’t buy Lois’ book, Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, because they were afraid it would advise them that they couldn’t be nice and be successful. Lois said that nothing is further from the truth. Likability is very important for success. You might follow the old school power and control leader for awhile, but the leader you like will get your loyalty and most productive work.
Women are taught they must be nice to be liked. And even if their parents gave them more liberating messages, society is stuck in the same rut with stereotypes that subject women to subservient roles and make words like “feminist” carry a negative label. Lois says that women are natural and necessary leaders and she shares eight key ways for women to step into leadership in her essay for Leading Women: 20 Influential Women Share Their Secrets to Leadership, Business and Life.
More about How Women Need to Lead
This inspiring conversation includes Lois’s personal story of how she found business coaching to be the perfect career path for her, before coaching was even a profession. She finds her work to be more about how women should mentor other women and routinely witnesses positive change when women put their skills together to make a difference.
Finally, Lois encourages women with this message:
Look around the world and tell me what you see. I see war; I see poverty; I see famine; I see corporate greed and we’re not leading the world. When women come together, they fix the problem. That’s why we need more women’s voices at the table.
That’s why we need far more empowered leading women.