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    March 1, 2023

    Leadership Superpower: Embracing Lessons from Women’s History

    Women's History Month is a time to celebrate the achievements and contributions of women throughout history. As a woman in today's world, I continue to be inspired by the trailblazing women who came before me, and by their stories of determination and courage in the face of adversity. Women's History Month provides a powerful reminder of the impact that women have had on the world, and of the legacy of leadership that they have left for future generations.ESD_FY23_Academy-Blog.Leadership Superpower - Embracing Lessons from Women’s History.Figure 1

    Throughout my own journey as a leader, I have learned many valuable lessons from the stories of women who’ve preceded me. Their examples have encouraged me to embrace resilience, to lead with determination, and to champion diversity and inclusion in my own life and work. These lessons have been instrumental in helping me to become a more effective and impactful leader. I believe that these lessons can be just as valuable for anyone looking to develop their leadership skills and make a positive impact on the world.

    Here are a few of the key attributes I’ve seen exemplified in the past, and how I have applied these lessons to my own leadership journey:

    Determination

    Women throughout history have demonstrated a fierce determination to make a difference in the world. Their unwavering commitment to their goals has inspired me to lead with determination, and to work tirelessly to achieve my own aspirations. 

    One of my own heroes is Mary Parker Follet, the “Mother of Modern Management”. She was an American social worker, management consultant, and writer who died in the 1930’s. Follet was a tireless advocate of organizational change. She is credited with being one of the founders of modern management theory, and her ideas about organizational structure and management have had a profound impact on the way that we think about organizations today. She believed that organizations should be built around principles of collaboration, shared purpose, and individual responsibility. She also argued that effective leadership required a deep understanding of group dynamics and human behavior. 90 years later, we’re still writing about the same principles!

    Resilience

    Women throughout history have shown us that resilience is a critical component of effective leadership. When faced with adversity, they have persevered, drawing on their inner strength to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals. This resilience has been essential to their success, and has allowed them to make a lasting impact.

    For example, I recall a time when I was consulting for a team who was facing a major setback that threatened to derail our progress. A competitor seemed to come out of nowhere, and launched a product that competed directly with my client’s offerings. Plus, the competition’s offering was better. It was demoralizing and team energy plummeted. But instead of giving up, I rallied the team and encouraged them to stay committed to our goals. I kept them focused on three key things:

    1. Focusing on the big picture. When facing setbacks, remember the larger goal or vision that you're working towards. There were plenty of ways to pivot and make an even stronger impact. And that’s exactly what they did. The team faced a multi-month delay, but they were ingenious with their pivot.
    2. Celebrating successes. When facing setbacks, it's important to celebrate successes along the way. Make an effort to acknowledge and celebrate the successes your team has achieved, no matter how small, to keep morale high and motivation strong.
    3. Working together to find a solution. We never could have overcome this obstacle if we hadn’t come together as a team. I spent a lot of time encouraging them to share their ideas and collaborate on finding solutions to the problem.

    By embracing resilience, we were able to overcome the obstacles that were placed in front of us and achieve our objectives. Through that experience, I learned that resilience is an essential ingredient for success.

    Diversity and Inclusion

    Throughout history, women have been at the forefront of efforts to promote diversity and inclusion. Their leadership has helped to break down barriers and to create a more inclusive and equitable world. As a leader, I too believe in the importance of diversity and inclusion. I strive to create an inclusive, supportive work environment in which everyone feels valued and respected, regardless of their background or experience. I have worked to create a culture of collaboration and teamwork.

    By embracing diversity and inclusion, you can build teams that are more innovative, more creative, and more effective. In today’s world, creating a culture of diversity and inclusion isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s key to success.

    Conclusion

    As we celebrate Women's History Month, I am reminded of the powerful legacy of women throughout history, and of the lessons that we can draw from their stories. Their examples of resilience, determination, and commitment to diversity and inclusion have inspired me to be a better leader and to make a positive impact in the world. I hope that their stories will inspire you too.

    Marie Kalliney

    Marie, who is "All Agile All the Time" (AAATT), serves as the Practice Director for ValueOps Professional Services and is a frequent content creator on the power of leadership. Marie's team of digital advisory consultants guides our clients through their Value Stream Management journey, driving business outcomes and...

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