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Tuesday, 08 August 2017 08:16

Times are changing – A feminine perspective on leadership

While the education space is typically made up of females, corporate education spans into industries that are usually male dominated. Mining, finance, engineering – all are verticals dominated by men. As a woman, I’ve discovered that the perception I have of myself directs how I am treated. People, generally, respond to confidence.

As humans, we are wired to notice change, to notice gaps - the difference between expectation and reality. That is, the greater the difference between expectation and reality, the more attention is generated. If, for example, someone has a low expectation of me because I am a woman, far more attention is generated when I deliver. This is a powerful position to be in - positive attention is good for business.

In terms of psychology, we subconsciously assume the roles we set for ourselves. If you consider yourself a strong induvial, you generally exude strong characteristics and others subconsciously buy into your strength. That is to say, you set the stage upon which others judge you. This is no different when it comes to being a woman in business. I believe that many women buy into the idea that they are at a disadvantage and thus begin a self-fulfilling prophecy: others, male or female, subconsciously observe that perception and compound it. And the same is true for the opposite. Therefore, confidence is key.

It’s also important to be aware of strengths and weaknesses – moreover, to be open about them. I know that there are certain aspects of business that are not my specific forte, so I surround myself with people that are passionate about them. And I know that I am not always going to be confident and positive – entrepreneurship has its ebb and flow – so I ensure that I am part of a network that supports me during those moments. Endeavour is a perfect example of this. Whenever I am stuck, there is a platoon of driven and passionate people ready to support me in any way they can - a wondrous source of expertise, encouragement and confidence.

Fortunately, times are changing. While I am not saying there isn’t gender equality in the workplace, there is definitely a shift to results-based performance. The focus is moving from process to deliverables – largely due to the pervasive disruption of technology. It now matters less who does something, as long as something is done. If you can show results, it matters less and less that you’re a woman.

This is constantly confirmed for me in the Middle East. Our business is expanding there rapidly. As a woman, people often comment about the conservative society in the middle east, that it must be difficult to do business there. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. There are growing initiatives dedicated to empowering women and businesses there are surprisingly supportive of business women.

Focusing on results helps. It ensures that you’re not focusing on whether being a woman is a disadvantage – it can be extremely distracting. Have you ever noticed that people’s eye often gravitate to where others are focused? Do you want them focused on your gender, or focused on your vision?

My advice for young women wanting to become entrepreneurs is simple: people will invariably see you the way you see yourself. Be daring, be confident and focus on getting things done – you’ll be surprised how accommodating the world is.

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” - Nora Ephron

Kirsty Chadwick
Kirsty Chadwick

Kirsty Chadwick is the Founder of The Training Room Online (TTRO), a digital learning design and development company that transforms clients’ employee training content into blended learning resources. TTRO’s strong team uses various design strategies, including animation, mobile, and video to produce high-quality customized learning solutions that are more convenient, stimulating, and interactive than traditional offline solutions. For more information on The Training Room Online: solutions. For more information on The Training Room Online: https://www.ttro.com/