Inspiring Advice On Leadership

From some of the world’s most SUCCESSFUL FEMALE LEADERS

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OWN IT Baroness Gail Rebuck, DBE, chair of the publishing group, Penguin Random House UK. “I think there is a big issue around women owning their leadership power. The act of leadership often comes naturally, but considering yourself a leader does not. Leadership is quite paradoxical – you need passion for what you do, strategic insight and the ability to inspire and encourage; but at the same time, over the years that I’ve lead organisations, my leadership style has had to modify itself.”

BE FLEXIBLE “In times of transformation, you have to be directional, at other times more subtle and relational,” says Rebuck. “You need to know when to lead from the front, when to be more visible, and when to follow from behind. And you need to know what you can’t do.”

LEAD BY EXAMPLE Limor Fried, co-founder of electronics company Adafruit. “My philosophy is that the DNA of the company flows from the leadership – the owner sets the culture. How the leader acts is how everyone is going to act.”

PUT IN THE HOURS Tina Brown, Founder of Women in the World, editor and author, believes, “If I’m not willing to stay up all night to make something perfect, why would anyone who works for me do that? Yes, I do push people but I’ve found many who didn’t realise how very good they are until they go that extra mile – make that two miles and raining! The extra effort is that bit that can be magic and make the product a cut above the rest.”

PROMOTE FROM WITHIN “The worst leaders are those who don’t hire or promote able, challenging people around them. It’s teamwork, ultimately, that drives the organisation – but it’s also quite lonely being a leader. You work with and depend on your team, but the buck stops with you,” believes Rebuck.

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DON’T FOCUS ON THE TITLE Samantha Power, former US ambassador to the United Nations. “My advice for young people would be not to decide on some title and try to script your path toward it but to develop your interests, dig into them – go deep instead of wide. Learn something about something. I took a roundabout way but I ended up inside the White House and ultimately inside the president’s cabinet, advocating many of the same positions that I had advocated as a human rights activist and as a writer.”

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From The Female Lead, Women Who Shape Our World by Edwina Dunn, www.thefemalelead.com.

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