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Modern Leadership is Like Driving — Constant Scanning is Required

Developing as a leader in this complex time is a complicated adventure!  The old style of leadership was more one dimensional. Today’s modern leadership style demands a more feminine approach that springs from a place of greater self-awareness and being attuned to how your personal actions and reactions affect your community

There’s a better way to drive as a leader…by holding five views.

Think of it like driving an actual car. Doesn’t it make you nervous when you’re in the car with a driver who never scans the road? When driving a car, you look ahead through the window, while keeping an eye on the rear and side-view mirrors. Leaders today need to constantly be scanning as they lead. If not, they’re missing out on vital information that could drastically influence their direction.

In fact, many leaders need to add a new view to an already full field of vision — the ability to look at yourself in the mirror and know how you’re manifesting your presence, seeing yourself as other people see you.  Yes, to grow as a leader and as an individual, is like trying to keep your eyes in all these directions, at the same time!

How many times have you been driving and you arrive at your destination and you can’t remember anything you’ve seen, because you’ve been so preoccupied? Try creating greater self-awareness, while you drive. This skill is easy and will spill over into other areas of life.

  • Intentionally shift the focus onto your body while you’re driving.
  • Feel your sits bone connecting to the seat.
  • Notice the way you’re holding yourself and how you’re gripping on the steering wheel.
  • Keep focused on the road but develop a “dual attention” in order to have a sense of self and the road ahead simultaneously.

How will this exercise benefit your leadership? Try something similar while leading via a Zoom call or having a conversation at home. (When we can once again assemble in groups you can practice this while leading in person):

  • Focus on your breath. Is it full or is it shallow; are you breathing deeply into your gut?
  • Focus on your body. Are your feet firmly planted, helping you feel grounded? Are your shoulders tense or loose? Is your face welcoming and curious or is it pushing people away?
  • Notice how others as individuals are responding to you. Is it with openness or with tension?
  • Notice how the collective team is responding to your presence within the group.

How you hold yourself in your body translates in the experience others have. You can create safety and encourage risk-taking, or you can keep the group from moving forward. Your dual attention, while leading, is critical to the success of the group.

Leading others requires a deep look at oneself. In order to transform our teams, our families, our communities, we must be ready to transform ourselves as well. When something changes, it has a ripple effect, changing everything it touches, whether we like it or not. We need the ability to pivot and change course in order to move through and forward in a healthy and resourceful way. 

So, take a look in the mirror. What do you see? What are your strengths? How do you share those with those around you? Where can you expand your strengths, where can you elevate your voice? How does your reflection change the view ahead, behind, or around you?

All of us create a greater sense of self in relation to other people. We get instant feedback from how people react — do they like or not like what we say, how we say it, how we act, how we are, and so forth. During this time of social isolation, we can lose some of that perspective. Which is why women are joining our Great Circle Community.

These are the kinds of discussions we’re having.  Why not join us! We’re inviting women from around the globe to explore big ideas and out-of-the-box creative solutions. Let’s get inspired and nourished as we feed our leader within. There is no cost to participate and we hold it twice a month. We’ll look for you there!

12 Forward-Thinking Women Who Are Leading the Way!

“Finally I was able to see that if I had a contribution I wanted to make, I must do it, despite what others said. That I was OK the way I was. That it was all right to be strong.” ~ Wangari Maathai

We wish to say a huge and heartfelt “Thank You!” to the selfless women tirelessly working to help others during the coranvirus pandemic. World leaders, healthcare workers, and grocery clerks alike are putting themselves out there to be of service to their communities. What is happening today is in preparation for how our future will become.

It wasn’t that long ago women were expected to stay home and be protected by their man. They weren’t allowed to take an active role outside the home. This is no longer the case, and we are so grateful for that!

There’s no reason why a woman shouldn’t step into the role of leadership when she has developed the necessary skills and resources. And many women are accepting this challenge and excelling at it. Because women still feel they have to prove themselves, they often hold themselves to an even higher standard and this is resulting in exceptional work.

During this pandemic, women are leading the way, as they prove to be reliable and a great asset to our world. They are not equivocating, but are telling the truth about the virus. And they are responding decisively and with compassion. Look at the following examples of some women who are leading the way. (Statistics taken on May 11, 2020)

  • Tsai Ing-Wen, first female president of Taiwan, close to China, spearheaded a swift and successful defense to the pandemic, containing the virus to 440 confirmed cases and 7 deaths.
  • New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, acted decisively and with compassion.  The country still has only one Covid-19 death so far. Of course, being an island state is a distinct advantage, but effective leadership has played a strong role.
  • Germany, led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, (doctorate in quantum chemistry) has been hit hard by coronavirus, but it has an exceptionally low mortality rate of around 1.6%.
  • Denmark gives high marks to prime minister Mette Frederiksen for the way she has handled the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Norway’s prime minister, Erna Solberg, is using television to talk directly to her country’s children, and she also held a dedicated press conference where no adults were allowed. She responded to kids’ questions from across the country, taking time to explain why it was OK to feel scared.
  • Prime Minister of Iceland, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, is making sure ALL citizens have access to free coronavirus testing and has instituted a thorough tracking system so there’s been no shutting down of their schools.
  • Rep. Nita Lowey led the passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, for $5.2 million in federal funding to expand paid sick leave for some employees.
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar led the introduction of the Keeping Critical Connections Act. To provide broadband internet access for rural families and students. 
  • Reps. Susan W. Brooks and Anna G. Eshoo authored the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act (PAHPA) which was signed into law June 24, 2019, long before this pandemic. Truly forward-thinking women!  
  • Sens. Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrant urged 36 large corporations to provide paid leave protections for all of their workers during the pandemic.

 Are these women born to be exceptional? Only in the sense that they have developed great self-knowledge and confidence, and they have the courage to step forward. Yes it takes courage to be vulnerable enough to put yourself in the limelight for all to see your successes and missteps. We agree with Brené Brown who says,

“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”

We are not saying that being a woman automatically makes these leaders better at handling a global pandemic. What we are saying is that women are using their power differently and effectively. They are examples we can all draw strength from, as we imitate their courage. They are proof that you can be a powerful leader, too.

Keep in mind what Margaret Wheatley said, “Leadership is a series of behaviors rather than a role for heroes.” Are you ready to step through the door to greater leadership responsibilities?

If you have self-talk telling you that “someone else can do it better” or “let someone else take the risks”, we challenge you. You can step up; you can make a difference. Join The Great Circle Community, we’re hosting. We’re inviting women from around the globe to explore big ideas and out-of-the-box creative solutions. Let’s get inspired and nourished as we feed our leader within! There is no cost to participate, please join us for our next call.

How To Be A Grounded Leader During Confusing, Complex Times

Life can be uncertain, confusing and complex at the best of times. Now, with COVID-19, ever more so! There’s no way of predicting what tomorrow will bring. It’s not easy remaining calm, centered and balanced.

Do powerful leaders of nations and corporations feel fear, panic, or indecision, like we do? Of course! What sets them apart is that they’ve discovered tools that help them remain grounded under adversity. (Stay tuned – we’re making available to you one of these powerful tools, at the end of this article.)

As leaders, we know that our teams, organizations, and clients are relying on us to stay grounded, and this helps us rise to each new challenge. We know they’re looking to us for clues on when to press forward and when to hold back. And that’s not always easy under pressure, because pressure immediately impacts our personal focus, and if not controlled, will disorient our business focus.

As in all emergency situations, we must help ourselves first. We can’t help ground someone else, until we’re grounded ourselves. Losing our grounding usually manifests itself in one of two ways: 1) we don’t stand up for ourselves when we should or 2) we try to control others. Let’s examine how being a grounded leader can help you avoid either extreme.

1. Strengthen these areas to stand up for yourself

  • Keep your vision clear. If you see a tendency within yourself to let others take over, then it’s time to shore up your vision.
    • How this contributes toward being a grounded leader: By breaking down your vision into goals, and then into mini tasks, you’ll be able to see and clearly articulate the purpose behind each task. This certain knowledge gives you conviction. You’re ready if someone tries to sidetrack you.
  • Communicate what you want and expect. Mindfulness helps you be aware of what’s happening in the Now and how you’re responding to it. For example, automatically saying “Yes” to avoid stress will cause more stress in the long term.
    • How this contributes toward being a grounded leader: Mindfully review your recent decisions and commitments. Were they aligned with your purpose? Where, why, and to whom, did you give in? When was it easiest to hold your ground? Take note of where you want to respond differently and train your brain to respond more intentionally in the future.
  • Maintain flexibility. Strive to bend without breaking, while at the same time, holding your ground over things you really believe in.
    • How this contributes toward being a grounded leader: As you begin each day, review your to-do list and mindfully identify what you’re willing to compromise and what’s a deal breaker. Listen to your gut, but question it thoroughly. Your gut can be overly protective. Remove attachment to specific outcomes. Allow your ideas room to grow, so you can pivot when needed.

2. Strengthen these areas to support others:

  • View others as collaborators. Sometimes, we confuse leadership with control. The only person you control is YOU.
    • How this contributes toward being a grounded leader: Comparisons between people are seldom helpful. Maintain a realistic view of yourself…you can’t go it alone and you’re not better than others. Get to know your team as individuals; learn their strengths and weaknesses. Then assign them work that allows them to showcase their expertise. This engenders respect, trust and sparks creativity. All of this reflects well on your leadership and will increase your bottom line.
  • Deepen your awareness of how others feel. Whether you call it empathy or compassion, this goes a long way in building strong relationships and alliances.
    • How this contributes toward being a grounded leader: There’s no place in business today for, “It’s my way or the highway!” On some days people need to be pushed to do their best work; other days they need to be nurtured and allowed to rest. And the only way you’re going to know what kind of day today is, is if you connect with others daily and empathically. Ask for honest feedback and accept it with gratitude, not judgment. People need to be heard and you need to hear what they’re saying. An unbreakable loyalty will result and they won’t try to undermine your leadership.
  • Nurture curiosity in yourself and others. Curiosity involves actively opening your eyes to see, your ears to listen, and your mind to comprehend.
    • How this contributes toward being a grounded leader: Being an active learner keeps you from becoming defensive, because you’re open to new ideas, new ways of doing things, new perspectives. You have nothing to prove and everything to learn. Everyone stays inspired and it leads to more understanding and tolerance.

We are constantly buffeted by winds of change. As Newave Leaders, we work to maintain our strength, while staying flexible enough to bend. What helps us stay grounded? It’s a 3-Part Daily Visualization Process. It gets each day off to a good start and assists you to make necessary course corrections through the day. We invite you to add these amazing free tools to your “toolbox” of leadership skills.

Use The Power Of Community To Help You Create Your Own Path!

“To watch people push themselves further than they think they can, it’s a beautiful thing. It’s really human.” ~ Abby Wambach

It’s month two of the new year already! Is your year going as planned or have you hit some turbulence that has slowed you down, or even stopped you? Perhaps it’s time to breathe new life into your goals or reinforce the good start you made?

As women leaders, it’s common to run into obstacles on our chosen path. Sometimes it becomes so difficult you may want to give up. Yet we urge you to keep going. After all, if it’s easy, you wouldn’t be growing, testing the waters outside your comfort zone and extending yourself fully.

It’s helpful to take a step back and look at your path, regularly and often. This constant reassessment, which allows for course correction, is the key to moving forward. People who sail on the open sea know this very well. When the wind becomes strong, they don’t continue to try to reach their destination in a beeline. Rather they employ a skill known as tacking. The captain turns the bow toward the wind so that the direction from which the wind blows changes from first the left side and then the right side, allowing a zig zag progression toward the desired direction. The obstacle, the wind, is then turned into an asset, propelling them forward with much more speed than if there were no wind or obstacle at all.

Are you on your path, or someone else’s?

One of our favorite books is WOLFPACK: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power and Change the Game, by Abby Wambach. She’s a two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA World Cup champion and is noted for her leadership skills as she helped transform her soccer teammates into one of the most successful, powerful and united Wolfpacks of all time.

She reminds us that the old rule, the one we grew up in, is to “Stay on the path”. This model is not designed for women today. The new rule is to create your own path. 

Take the time to consider if you’re on the right path for you. Especially, if you have set goals for yourself based on something you read, advice from an “expert” or a conversation with a friend without ensuring that it’s the right goal for you. Is it getting you nearer or further away from your destination?

We believe that it’s important to base your goals on who you really are, instead of who you wish you were. This takes a lot of grace, compassion and self-knowing. Truly accepting who you are helps you set routines and systems that help you succeed. So, as you step back to reassess, ask yourself: “Is this goal designed for me or for someone I wish I were?”

Create your own path, but don’t walk it alone.

As in the case of Abby Wamback, successful leadership involves not only claiming our individual power, but also uniting our Pack or community and forging new trails. Your power to create your new path doesn’t come from trying to go it alone. The new path embraces accountability. As women, the power of the collective is a potent source of accountability. 

We, Maria and Louise, turn to each other quite often to hold our work in an accountable frame. We also ask questions of each other that push and stretch us out of our comfort zone of repeating old patterns. We don’t only do power different, we approach goals in a different way. We like to create routines that have accountability by creating a buddy system. It’s not only important to know what you want. It’s also important to have a community that is cheering for you, is excited, and holds you accountable.

Who is in your community of allies that help you stay true to your goals? Who are your accomplices who will support you when you veer away from your goal? How can you develop more allies in your accountability plans? We invite you to become part of our community at our next annual retreat — Women: Bring Forth the Leader Within. Among other things, we’ll help you develop your leadership style so that you can lead from where you are instead of reaching into a style that you are not. (Pssst…We’re extending the Early Bird Pricing through the month of February!) If you have any questions or concerns, we invite you to contact us so we can address them.

We Do Power Different — The Feminine Leadership Style

“The way in which we think of ourselves has everything to do with how our world sees us and how we see ourselves successfully acknowledged by the world.” ~ Arlene Rankin

Perhaps you think feminine means something girly girl — things that are sweet and pretty. So in your mind, a feminine approach has no place in business, politics or leadership, because it lessens your power. After all, these arenas have long been dominated by men and you have to be tough to survive in them, right? It isn’t possible to be tough and feminine at the same time, is it? Well, the answer to these questions may surprise you…

In the context of business and the world scene, we believe the feminine leadership style can effectively be used by both men and women, as it refers to developing the behaviors, characteristics, and skills that women have quietly used for centuries to successfully guide their families. It’s a powerful, yet subtle, influence that brings out the best in each member of the family or team to create a synergy of the whole accomplishing so much more than any individual effort ever could.

What traits characterize the feminine approach to leadership?

Women bring a passion to their leadership. This trait enables you to put heart into all that you do. We’re invested in the outcome, it’s not just a job.

Women have learned how to be flexible and resilient as we balance home and work life. We often care for multiple roles of responsibility simultaneously so we know how to quickly collect and assemble data into complex patterns as we weigh all the options to make the best decisions. (Most moms do this every morning when they get their children off to school with clean clothes, backpacks, completed homework, lunches, and pick-up and drop-off schedules all in order.) 

Women tend to see the big picture, because they pay attention to the human element not just the cold, hard facts. Yes, they’re comfortable acknowledging “feelings” within themselves and others.

The feminine leadership style relates with others, while keeping ego under control. It looks for ways to connect, to hear, and see others. We seek to inspire and build, which multiplies our impact, rather than separate and diminish our efforts. People respond to this caring energy. It fosters creativity and excellence, as others feel accepted and valued.  

Feminine leaders are natural collaborators and can create and motivate teams, because we do it every day within the family unit. We’ve learned to hone our sensitivity to assess the mood in a room and have the courage to say what needs to be said. We know that men and women think differently; work to understand each person, rather than being dismissive of their contribution.

Feminine leaders are authentic in all they do. We know who we are and we’ve grown comfortable in our own skin. We’re not afraid to follow our dreams and be the author of our journey. We’ve learned how to speak what we believe and have the strength and presence to be ourselves, while welcoming everyone around you to do the same. 

The feminine approach takes advantage of the power that comes from softening your stance. It’s no mistake that a ball is round. Rounder objects handle stress better. This is well-illustrated by what engineers have learned about designing airplane windows. Airplanes, at first, used square windows. However, when jets began flying faster and at higher altitudes, two planes fell apart in midair. They came to realize that sharp corners of the square windows were natural weak spots where stress concentrates. Curved windows, on the other hand, have no focal point, so it distributes the stress. Feminine leaders don’t let everyday stressors make them rigid in their thinking and physiology. They’ve learned to soften the body and roll with the punches both literally and figuratively.

As you looked at these traits, how did you feel? Do you feel like you’re fully utilizing them in your approach to leadership. It’s not always easy, is it? Some women have felt that they must adopt leadership styles that make them acquiesce to the status quo or become ‘one of the boys’. Sadly, this reduces your effectiveness, as they don’t allow you to use your strengths and skills fully. 

We appreciate what Mary Beard said in Women & Power: A Manifesto ,“You cannot easily fit women into a structure that is already coded as male; you have to change the structure.”  Let’s be at the forefront of this change! When we chose the phrase, “we do power different” as our tagline, we wanted to emphasize that we are moving beyond the divide and conquer model of leadership that has been in use for much too long. We invite you to take this journey with us. Start by filling out our thought-provoking PADLE questionnaire. It’s a leadership model that makes sense!

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The Great Circle Community — A safe space where your inner voice is welcomed and heard. Tired of all the rhetoric and noise? Become part of the solution and join Louise and Maria for meaningful conversations. Membership is free. Learn more today

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