Leadership lessons for women entrepreneurs
‘Leadership’is about mapping out what you need to do to win, to conquer the world with innovation, power and determination. Well, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, correctly said, “Leadership belongs to those who take it.” Having said that, leadership brings to mind a variety of images of what we term as leaders. Leaders, who pioneer, influence, help themselves, do the right, set direction, and build an inspiring vision. Leaders like Janet Yellen, Christine Lagarde, Indira Nooyi, Oprah Winfrey, Angela Merkl, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and many more…
Here are six effective tips for women entrepreneurs from the women leaders who know what it takes to get to the top.
- Stay focused-You are religiously bent on finishing the work at hand and suddenly something comes up. Regardless of how persuasive the distraction is, you just give it attention. It goes on and when you get back to work- boom, you’ve lost some hours and have no idea of what you were at.Well, it takes the huge chunk of your focus to do something effective and significant. Before even getting started have a few things ready in your mind. Ask yourself what you want to do and why- with your answer you will value your task and get the desired output. Apply your creativity to make your task fun and borderless. You will start prioritising your work which gives a sense of ownership.Once you start owning your task or work, you will have the vigour to stay focused.
- “You will never fail if you focus, are flexible and follow through. I followed a lot of principles and practices that my husband had set up and then I dovetailed with my own experience,”
- says Ratna Chadha, CEO of TIRUN Travel Marketing.
- Work smart-Smart work is correlated to productivity. Women in the entrepreneurial world are very busy individuals who usually get suppressed with their work without realizing their use of time. Improving productivity does not mean working hard or long, but working smart. For example- planning out your work is good, but too much planning not only leads wastage of time but also loss of opportunities and unnecessary hard work. So, the underlying mantra is- plan less and do more because execution is what the world will see, not the strategy.
- “‘Working hard makes you successful’. This was the mantra my parents instilled in me very early on. I carry this lesson with me to this day. However, in this day and age, I don’t think just working hard is enough. You have to work smart as well,” says Mani Abrol, Senior Director Engineering at Yahoo!India.
- Another mantra of working smart is- ‘learn to say no’. Every successful person has to have to quality of refusing. Saying yes will please others at the moment, but being an entrepreneur you must look at the big picture- the reality. The simple equation her is you have very limited time and cannot allocate your time and energy to every task.
- Embrace inexperience– Inexperience is something you should embrace not be ashamed of. Inexperience leads to innovation and learning more than one can imagine. Your inexperience could bring in a new perception to the industry. Being experienced could only lead to you backing out of difficulties. If you are unaware of the difficulties ahead, you are more likely to try achieving it. Accepting your inexperience generally leads to self-appreciation which in return gives you the power to outstand others.“Embrace what you don’t know, especially in the beginning, because what you don’t know can become your greatest asset. It ensures that you will be doing things in absolutely differently from everybody else,” says Sara Blakely, Founder of Spanx.
- Scale up your business– There’s no limit to success and growth is indeed obligatory for success. Hence it is most important to fulfil the factors needed for your business. For example- if you are planning for a huge fruitful tree, sowing the seeds and watering regularly isn’t enough. The tiny seeds require a lot more; they need facilities with the changing days. Same applies to your business.Once you have built your company, it is very important to see that you are fulfilling the demands of the audience you are catering to. Always surround yourself with the most useful human resources who are committed and will help you and your company advance.
- Maintain your integrity– Integrity affects all your daily pursuits- both at the professional and personal level. It follows with the promises and commitments made, and your activities. Making promises and abiding by them is compulsory. Promise reflects your decision, responsibility towards what you have chosen to do. It is very important to be sensible in fulfilling the obligations within the given time frame.A flow of proper influences also helps in maintain integrity. So, try to be surrounded by people you admire. If you don’t find motivational people, engage yourself in reading books or do something that uplifts your awareness in the right direction.“Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not,” says Oprah Winfrey.
- Maintaining relationships– Building and maintaining strong relationships are very important for everybody. The evolving technology has taken up on the sanctity of relationship. We find it more feasible to communicate via emails, text and other virtual means. But, no matter how fast technology is improving, nothing can replace the benefit of face-to-face interaction.Maya Angelou, the famous author said- “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Even the women leaders we talk of have the exclusive strength of maintaining their relationships. They follow a very simple policy of meeting more and more people and staying connected amidst their busy schedule.
- You don’t have to be perfect to be a leader and it is absolutely okay to make mistakes. What is necessary is to make decisions to set things right or just be courageous to start over again. Be firm on these commitments and with these small things, and you will see yourself as a leader. Indira Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo says, “As a leader, I am tough on myself and I raise the standard for everybody; however, I am caring because I want people to excel at what they are doing so that they can aspire to be me in the future.”