Leadership is hard! When you’re a woman in leadership that difficulty goes up exponentially because of the “rules” women are expected to follow. Rules that pave the way to a decidedly male way of leading, with little to no room for a woman’s natural leadership style to be expressed.
For a long time our culture has been inundated with images of masculine leadership. The heroes in the stories told were always men and those in high-powered positions were typically only men.
Slowly, as more women entered the workforce, that started to change; women started to hold some of those high-powered positions too. But, in their quest to be like one of the boys, women sacrificed a lot to get to the top.
Arianna Huffington shared her story of the price she paid, striving to play the competitive win-at-all-cost leadership game, when she ended up passed out in a pool of her own blood from the stress of it all.
Mika Brzezinski tells the awful story of being so exhausted and run down from trying to have it all, she fell down a long flight of stairs while carrying her infant daughter, resulting in the breaking of her daughter’s leg.
And Erin Callen so completely devoted herself to her work, as a C-suite leader, she lost sight of what was important and in the process lost her marriage.
Women are paying a high price trying to lead like men. Those in high-level leadership positions have a 40% higher risk for heart disease and a 60% increased risk for diabetes. Women are almost literally killing themselves trying to be like one of the boys.
Women, it’s time for us to take back our leadership story from the hands of men. It’s time for us to decide that we will lead and live in ways that balance who we are with the influence and impact we want to have in the world.
It’s time for us to step up and declare this is not working for us and we choose a different way.
Based on my own experience as a leader, as well as what I have heard from my clients who hold influential positions in their organization, I crafted the Women’s Leadership Manifesto. It is a declaration on how we, as women, will choose to lead.
It is women leaders, standing up and saying we will no longer let others dictate our leadership for us. Instead we declare this is how we, as leaders who are women, choose to lead!
The Tenets of the Women’s Leadership Manifesto
- We are leaders who are women.
- We refuse to “man up” or “think like a man.”
- We are unafraid of our power and our voices.
- We speak our truth with grace and compassion, but we do so boldly and unapologetically.
- We choose not to play by the rules of someone else’s [leadership] game.
- We define and pursue success on our own terms.
- We will say yes ONLY when it does not mean saying no to our partners, our families or ourselves.
- We recognize the privilege of leadership and strive to never abuse, manipulate, or subjugate those we lead.
- We lead with integrity and true authenticity from a place of deep care for those we serve.
- We collaborate with, not compete against, the other leaders around us.
- We believe as we help others rise, we rise too. Therefore, we see the woman next to us as a co-creator in our becoming.
- We are not reinventing ourselves; we are becoming who we were always meant to be
This is who we are! This is how we lead!
I want every woman leader to have a copy of this manifesto. I believe it should be posted in a prominent place in your office as a reminder that you have permission to be fully who you are as you lead. You can click here to download your copy today.
I’m on a mission to see leadership redefined for women. Will you join me?!
From my heart to yours,
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