Every time I interview a female CEO or leader, I ask: ‘What are the key lessons you’ve learned as a leader that you would like to pass on to other women?’
Without fail, each inspirational leader shares their lessons learned, to help empower and motivate other women as they strive to build their careers.
In honour of these leaders and International Women’s Day 2021, I have compiled a top 10 list from the many lessons they shared with me. Click on each woman’s name to read about their leadership journey.
Top 10 Lessons:
- Take risks. It is okay to feel uncomfortable and outside of your comfort zone; it will help you to progress. Prof. Wendy Chapman, Director, Centre for Digital Transformation of Health
- Be confident about what you bring to the table. It doesn’t matter if your experience is different to others…diversity of experience and opinions helps move things forward. Dr Peggy Brown AO, former CEO, National Mental Health Commission
- Don’t try to model your leadership style on anyone else; be yourself. Find what your inner approach is and make sure you stay true to that. Kate Quirke, CEO, Alcidion
- Seek honest feedback on your performance as a leader. Ask people whose opinions you trust to act as a conduit for feedback from the business. Debby Blakey, CEO, HESTA
- Assemble a team of people around you who are smarter than you and who will support you and execute your vision. Hire for attitude and aptitude rather than just skill and experience. Dr Louise Schaper, CEO, Australasian Institute of Digital Health
- Ensure your team knows what you expect from them and build loyalty by engendering a culture of trust and support. Ingrid Segota, Executive Director, Association of Corporate Counsel
- Don’t put self-constraints on your career, even if you have caring responsibilities. “Women put constraints on themselves without actually asking questions such as: ‘Could I do that job part-time?’” Susan Martin, Managing Director, Johnson & Johnson Medical
- Manage your own career, don’t expect organisations to manage it for you. While you should expect support, coaching and mentoring, it’s up to you to drive your career. Christine Parker, Group Executive Human Resources, Westpac Bank
- Know your business really well, so there are no surprises. “Otherwise things are going to come up and bite you on the arse,” says The Purple House CEO Sarah Brown AM. But also, remember to have fun and celebrate success.
- Find something you love to do and call it work. Maria Palazzolo, CEO, GS1 Australia.
This article is by Laini Bennett, MBA