1. IDENTIFY YOUR ROLE MODELS.
Ask yourself, who are the individuals that inspire you? What traits do they all have in common? What have they achieved that you would also like to accomplish, and why are those milestones important to you?
Your role model could be a pioneer like Jacqueline Novogratz, transforming lives by empowering the poor. Or maybe Ellen Agler, who fights the suffering caused by five neglected tropical diseases affecting 1.7 billion people. Or maybe you’re inspired by Julie Cordua and her team focused on technological approaches to end online child sexual abuse.
2. TRANSFORM YOURSELF TO BE THE ROLE MODEL YOU WOULD FOLLOW.
Now become a role model. After identifying your inspirations and their key traits, model those values and behaviors yourself at work and in your personal life. Surround yourself with individuals who also share your ideas and aren’t afraid to be unique. And don’t forget to have the humility to admit your mistakes and the willingness to correct them.
3. BECOME THE EXPERT.
Know what your chosen area of work requires of you and expand your knowledge. Continue to educate yourself through mentorship, and formal as well as informal learning opportunities. What gaps do you need to fill to one day be to go-to source on your subject?
Determine what your ultimate goal is and continuously learn from others. Identify experts in the field you’re venturing into; collect their insights and experiences. Then consider how they fit into your values and beliefs. Do they serve your personal mission and goals or not? What will you do differently? What life lessons can they teach you?
4. FOCUS ON INNATE STRENGTHS AND ACQUIRED KNOWLEDGE.
People have different skills, talents, strengths and knowledge, and we can learn from one another. By honing your most vital skills, you can determine what things you are better at than others. Be open and honest about what your weakest traits are. Ask for help on how you can improve.
Build your skill set, but also realize the best leaders are those who can engage and mobilize those around them as well. Learn how to celebrate successes, learn from setbacks and set others up for success and personal fulfillment.
5. EMPOWER YOUR STAFF.
To empower your staff, you need to invest in them. It would be best to give your staff opportunities to grow in the organization and their personal lives. By providing them with regular feedback and training and giving them opportunities to lead projects, you can help move them up in their own careers.
6. EXCEED YOUR PERFORMANCE AND EXPECTATIONS.
Cultivate an awareness of new business and cultural trends that can spark creativity and innovation. Exceed your own expectations of what you can accomplish. Aim to push your limits and increase your performance. It may surprise you to discover that you can achieve more than what you thought possible.
7. EMBRACE PROGRESS AS OPPORTUNITIES FOR POSITIVE CHANGE.
Along with change come opportunities for progress—even breakthroughs. As you reach one milestone, look ahead to the next—and don’t be afraid to dream big. What audacious goal can you set for yourself? What would you need to do or change to reach that goal? What new skills or experiences and perspectives would that bring you?
Not too far from now, you may very well have become not only a reflection of all those females you look up to, but you may be marching alongside them, leading the way and making a difference.
By Jackie Sue Griffin, MBA, MS