5 Golden Rules for Women in Leadership

As organisations continue to be called out on their gender pay gap figures and equality in the workplace, there's more attention on this topic now more than ever.

As a result, the events industry has been awash with Women in Leadership conferences across the globe, designed to empower professional women and help them break through the ever-present glass ceiling.

The age-old ‘career or children’ dilemma is diminishing, as women worldwide turn their backs on tradition and ask themselves – and their bosses – ‘why not both’?

So, as a woman in a leadership role, what can you do to ensure you’re not only taken as seriously as your male colleagues, but you’re valued and appreciated by staff at all levels for the work you do?

Woman teaching others about the golden rules for women in leadership

Here are our top five golden rules to increase your credibility as a leader and ensure you make an impact at work.

Top 5 Golden Rules for Women in Leadership

1. Be conscious of your role

This may seem like an obvious one, but by believing you are a leader and keeping this thought at the forefront of your mind when communicating with colleagues, you will automatically come across as confident and self-assured. You got to where you are for a reason – you have the skills, knowledge and experience to operate in a senior role and you are able to successfully lead a team. Don’t lose sight of this, and remind yourself daily of the unique qualities you have that make you great at your job.

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2. Be a great listener

Great leadership is not just about directing your colleagues to your way of thinking. The ability to listen and respond to the opinions and needs of your team is essential. The strongest teams are made up of strong communicators – and that involves taking on board the advice and thoughts of your team members. Remember, you don’t always have to have the answers, but the ability to be a great listener is at the core of any successful leader.

Learn more about active listening and how you can improve

3. Support and empower your female colleagues

A widely held theory to explain the lack of women in leadership roles is ‘Queen Bee Syndrome’ – the idea that successful women in positions of authority enjoy this unique power and therefore block other women from progressing to more senior roles, otherwise known as ‘pulling the ladder behind them’. Whether there is any truth in this theory, or it’s just another excuse used by employers to explain away inequalities in their workforce, there is no doubt that the best leaders encourage their staff to progress in their career – even if that means overtaking you. By supporting your staff in their professional development, you will boost their confidence and engagement at work and ensure you get the best performance from your team.

Read our top 4 ways to support fellow women in the workplace

4. Close the confidence gap

It’s a sweeping statement to say that women lack confidence at work compared to men, but research has shown that men tend to overestimate their abilities, whereas women are much less likely to put themselves forward for a task due to a lack of belief in their capability. Discussions on the under-representation of women in leadership roles often comes back to the same argument – it’s down to a lack of confidence, not a lack of ability. One of the first steps towards creating a more equal playing field in the workplace is to establish the reasons for this confidence gap, and equip women with the tools to improve their presence and self-belief.

5. Communication is key!

Women and men typically have different styles of communication. For example, the average woman speaks around 20,000 words a day, whereas the average man speaks just 7,000. Your language choice and how you present yourself can have a huge impact on working relationships and how status or credibility is perceived by colleagues. One advantage of being a female leader is that, generally speaking, women are better at emotional empathy than men.

This means women tend to be better able to read body language and tone from colleagues and react accordingly. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many women are throwing away their chances of success by trying to act too much like men. By taking advantage of a softer skill such as emotional intelligence, women can overcome career barriers and develop more meaningful relationships with colleagues.

Discover why body language is so important in communication in the workplace.

What we do to Help

For many years, we've hosted a CPD certified training course designed especially to help women enhance their communication skills in the workplace and to become a more effective leader.

''Confident Communication for Women in the Workplace’ is led by Dialect and Vocal Communications coach Anne Walsh. This interactive day comprises of practical workshops where you will discover a toolkit of speech and assertiveness techniques to ensure you create an impact at work and develop your skills as a leader.

View All Upcoming Courses and Available Dates

If you want to increase your impact, creditability and personal power in the workplace, view our full list of upcoming courses that'll give you the tools, knowledge and techniques to boost your confidence. View the full list here and book your place