Forbes Coaches Council Member

Actionable Advice for Men and Women Leaders

Women Who Lead: Habits of Truly Disruptive Leaders

The tables were turned Wednesday evening, and instead of being the moderator, I was a panelist for the #WomenWhoLead event, hosted by WeWork. Alongside me were two, rockstar leaders: Sachi Shenoy, Chief Innovation Officer of Upaya Social Ventures, and Rebecca Lovell, Director of Entrepreneurship & Industry, City of Seattle. Our moderator was Gina Phillips, the PNW Lead for WeWork.

We spoke to a room full of mostly women, of all ages, and a handful of courageous men, about the tips and habits we’ve developed in our own personal leadership, which have contributed to our success. A very brave and enlightened man, who sat in the front row and who I happen to know asked – ‘What can men learn from women?’ – I gave an actionable answer to a slightly different question:

My advice to men: Stop making excuses.

It’s no secret that I love men and most of my clients are men. And it’s those men who are advocates for women in leadership, and who MUST use their influence to engage the men who aren’t. The excuses for why there aren’t more women in leadership – specifically on public boards – has to stop!

 “I’d love to have a woman on our board…

  • But there just aren’t enough women with C-suite skills…”  Bullshit! Look harder!
  • But they don’t stay in the game long enough to get to the boardroom…” Bullshit! Figure out how to retain them!
  • But we hire from within our network, and we don’t know any women…” Are you f-ing kidding me?!

My advice to women: Don’t let anyone muzzle you!

That means if you are naturally aggressive then…Be it! Own it! Call it whatever you want: aggressive, assertive, whatever! Obviously, don’t be a bully and don’t be unkind. But have a point of view! Go after what you want! And if that makes someone feel uncomfortable –  because you’re smart and thoughtful, because you ask good questions and challenge people’s thinking –  that’s their problem. NOT YOURS!


Photo by Mag Secretario

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