Have you ever thought of the existence of the gender gap when comes to leadership? Susan Colantuono, the CEO and Founder of Leading Women, answered this question by bringing forward a fresh career success equation:

Higher Leadership Positions = Professional Competence + People Skills + Business Skills

The traditional formula does not contain the business skills, titled by Susan “the missing 33%”. And this is what women haven’t been told about. This represents the gap. The importance of business skills is immense when trying to climb the success ladder and the women have to consider this… as men actually do, according to studies done.

It was back in 2010 when Susan wrote the amazing “No ceiling no walls”. The book is built on her definition of leadership: “using the greatness in you to achieve and sustain extraordinary outcomes by engaging the greatness in others.”

Very well structured, filled with examples and resources, the book should be read by everyone, no matter of the level in the company and no matter of the experience so far. The advices there will never become obsolete. What I liked the most is that they can be easily put into practice at anytime and in any type of organization.

Here’s a selection of Susan’s great tips that every woman needs to know about leadership:

1/ See yourself as a contributor to the success of your organization

Understand your purpose in the company. Don’t think of yourself as an employee to whom the company owes something. Adopt a positive attitude and think of yourself as a contributor.

2/ Lead others for supporting the organization goal

You can lead at any level you may be positioned in the company. Leaders exist at every level of any organization.

3/ Act like a business owner.

Treat your organization as if you own it. When a problem appears, take action with others and fix it.

Engage others, bring out the best in them and finally create a team that can deliver without you. You are then free to move on to the next challenge.

Speak positively about your organization in public.

Think of yourself as a leader and always behave as if others are watching you. They are watching you anyway, you just need to be aware of this.

4/ Find the greatness in others.

Inspire others to care about their work and challenge them to think about the best practices.

5/ Pay continuous attention to the three elements of leadership presence:

The language of power – What you say

The power of language – How you say it

Non-verbal messages – What you do

6/ Communicate consistent and clearly.

Keep everyone focused on achieving or exceeding the company’s strategic goals. Use internal communication tools and social media, as well as face to face meetings.

7/ Build a strong internal and external network.

Women are perceived as not having strong strategic networks. Start nurturing your existing network, by thanking those who helped you already in achieving your goals and establish the conditions of reciprocity by offering your help in the future.

8/ Always have in mind:

“You are promoted because someone sees evidence that you can perform at the next higher level of leadership.” You need to show your best skills through your actions and behavior.

A real source of inspiration should not be missed… No ceiling no walls definitely worth reading from A to Z.

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