women in business Time to lead like a woman

Tamsin Napier-Munn, founder and director of RAWtalks academy takes a look at some of the issues that women contend with in today’s business world

Having met dozens of amazing women during my time hosting the Women in Business Awards, I wasn’t surprised to have two questions thrown at me recently by a young female graduate, that challenged our self-confidence as women and highlighted the deep- rooted self-doubt many of us hold: “Why is it that we always have to find a place at the table in this man’s world, why do we have to prove ourselves and why is it that as women, being opinionated is considered a problem?” ..... ..... Great questions.

The accusation of being opinionated instead of having an opinion, albeit a strong one is a common perception and one we have to change in others by HOW we communicate our opinions and skilfully influence others.

Do we still believe we have to model men in the work place? Perhaps you too remember wearing shoulder pads in the 80s, we called it ‘power dressing’ in those days; thank goodness that misguided behaviour has been squashed. We’ve come a long way since then, but some still think, as women we need to lead like men.

No wonder we often feel stuck, full of doubt and uncertainty. Even if we believe in ourselves, how are we going to compete in a ‘man’s world’? The answer is we can’t and we don’t need to.

Jacinda Arden, PM of New Zealand has caught the world’s attention and inspired many by breaking paradigms, particularly in the political arena, demonstrating that as a woman you can, and need to lead like a woman.

“One of the criticisms I’ve faced over the years is that I’m not aggressive enough or assertive enough, or maybe somehow because I am empathetic, it means I’m weak. I totally rebel against that. I refuse to believe that you cannot be both compassionate and strong”


She goes on to say: “You can carve your own path, be your own kind of leader. We do need to create a new generation of leadership”

I believe though that the answers to both questions lie in our head, a place many of us spend far too much time in.

It comes down to having confidence in ourself to lead like a woman. To recognise and use our strengths and natural traits to build empathy and relationships, and to harness our collaborative nature and instincts.

The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves are the foundations to our confidence and ultimately our success.

As women we need to challenge that paradigm, change the internal narrative, reset our expectations of what leadership and success entails and start tapping unashamedly in to our abilities to influence others.

The truth is: you are your own competitive edge, you can be your own catalyst for change. So is now the time to start realising this, owning it and acting on it?

Stop ‘waiting to be asked to dance’ to be empowered, as the only person who can empower you, is you.

After all, isn’t that what businesses want and need right now? For us to step up, speak up, contribute more and use our unique leadership style to inspire change in an uncertain world.

Perhaps you are a male leader championing women; perhaps you are responsible for driving the gender agenda and developing the female talent in your organisation; perhaps you are one of those aspirational women of influence yourself.

Now is the time for women to lead with compassion, collaboration and confidence, but to tackle this thing called self-confidence it starts with having the courage to change. 21

Join me on this journey of self- mastery, inspiring change as a woman of influence.

Register on my website for a forthcoming webinar series when I will introduce you to proven strategies, techniques and principles to enable you to:

• Speak with authority, gravitas and raise your profile.

• Become your own inspiration and inspire change in others.

• Become a high-impact influencer to make change happen.

• Gain respect for your ideas, opinions and win others over to your way of thinking.

• Ultimately lead like a woman – by being you.

Register here or email me:

Tamsin Napier-Munn

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