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Women should try a variety of leadership styles in order to gain influence

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Tuesday, March 15th, 2016
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Compared with men, women are spending more time on housework, less time in the office and more time on work activities that may hold back their careers. Here are three steps that women can take to offset these differences and move their careers forward:

1. Know how you spend your time: It’s easy to fall into roles that feel prescribed. But be aware that the decisions you make about how you use your time may have wide implications for your career. If you’re uncertain about how many hours you’re devoting to household tasks and where the bulk of your time is spent at work, keep a time log for a few weeks. Once you’ve seen where your time is going, you can determine whether to make changes, perhaps by getting help with chores or spending more time on higher profile work projects that showcase your leadership skills.

2. Flex your leadership style: Women tend to rely on a collaborative leadership style. Yet relying on a single, similar set of styles puts women at a disadvantage when they are trying to influence or gain authority. A smarter approach is to build your comfort level with flexing different leadership styles that range from being inclusive, collaborative and inspirational to being directive and analytical. Check whether your company offers opportunities for leadership training, or try tapping mentors for their advice about developing a wider range of leadership abilities.

3. Maintain an open dialogue: While a collaborative, emotionally intelligent leadership style may be time-consuming, it also tends to be effective. Make sure your boss knows why you are scheduling all those one-on-one calls and meetings and how they connect to business goals. While you may be aware that building consensus is more effective than giving orders, your company may not be. By sharing your knowledge with your manager and direct reports, you can start a dialogue on the subject.

(Adapted from “The Time-Consuming Activities That Stall Women’s Careers” at HBR.org.)

 

 

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