What have I learned after attending the symposium? First of all, I found that women leaders are a calm and collected lot. They speak clearly, in a calm and even voice in their confident demeanour. Some are more humourous than others but whatever style they project, they carry themselves well, with the leadership qualities shining through. Most importantly, they are passionate about the things they do.
The word PASSION seemed to resonate in every leader's speech that day.
In a nutshell, here are some of the qualities that make a good leader. But before I go on any further, I would like to add that these are the qualities that apply not just to women leaders, but to every man and woman in general because these make such good commonsense for daily living.
I'm going to list the points I jotted in my notebook in a random manner. If you need more clarification, please feel free to ask and I will elaborate. Heh, am I beginning to sound like a leader already? LOL
1. Don't set artificial barriers for yourself.
2. If you lead, lead from the front and not from the back.
3. Empathise with your people.
4. In times of crisis, remain calm and stand firm.
5. Don't be stereotyped or boxed in.
6. At the end of the day, people can judge you for who you are. Be yourself. Don't be a fake.
7. Provide clear focus and direction, and firmness when you have to take a stand.
8. Enhance your strengths and strengthen your weaknesses.
9. Maintain a positive attitude.
10. Be self-aware and insightful.
11. Hold out a vision, not just for yourself.
12. Make a difference with your ideas.
13. Galvanise your vision.
14. Stand by your men and women.
15. Perservere and be courageous.
16. Take lesson from failure and move on.
17. You must be passionate and enthused.
18. You must be able to communicate your passion across.
19. Be grateful.
20. Learn to overcome adversity and transcend difficulties.
21. Find the passion in yourself.
22. Take time to reflect.
23. Have a group of friends who are true to you to get affirmation from.
24. Get mentors.
25. Be happy and healthy.
26. Add value to other people's life.
27. Learn to network!
28. Look for opportunities.
29. Be passionate.
30. Set goals and visions.
31. Be industrious.
32.Time management is important.
33. Use technology to help you.
34. Be innovative and creative.
35. Be willing to invest in R&D, people, branding etc
36. Be wise, be strong and socially responsible.
37. Take charge.
38. Think outside the box. Follow your own style.
39. Walk the talk.
40. Have a big picture.
41. Teamwork. Take turns to do difficult tasks. Watch out for your team members.
42. Learn to negotiate.
43. Set clear goals.
44. Combine assertiveness with friendliness.
45. Learn to say no. A bad deal is worse than no deal.
46. Women leaders are better able to listen, read faces and emotions.
47. Women leaders are intuitive.
48. Women leaders don't give up easily when faced with difficulties. They adopt a "I'll show you I can do it attitude."
49. Women leaders have team building style and are consensus builders in decision making.
50. Women leaders are likely to ignore rules and take risk because they have less to lose.
51. Women leaders have to work harder to be where they are.
52. Women leaders are more transformational.
During the symposium, many younger ladies posed this question to the speakers, "What challenges do you face as a woman leader?'
The answer I keep hearing does not surprise me at all. Most of the women leaders don't think of themself as a woman leader. Their gender does not even come into the picture at all.
I so agree with the leaders. When you're in that position with tasks to accomplish and people to lead, you just get on with it and get things done. You don't think of yourself as a woman or how you would compare to a man. I know it's hard to explain but many times in my life, people ask me how I can juggle a business, sports, kids and housework all on my own.
To be honest, I just do it. I don't think of myself any differently all because I am a woman. The motivation to succeed is strangely, simply because I have to keep the kids alive. Most women in the same situation would do the same. Once work, tuition, school, housework and exercise fall into a routine, life becomes very normal for me. We don't sit around and compare ourselves with other people who are better off, we simply cope and move on.
Here's another little piece of lesson I learned that day from our Minister of State Mrs Yu-Foo who's a strong advocate for family life. The younger women today keep putting off having kids because they want to do their MBA or excel in their career first. By the time they're ready, their body is not. Why can't they learn to multi-task like us older women? Most of the women leaders at the forum did their MBA when their kids were little. They still managed to succeed in life as a mother, wife and women leader. If they can do it, why can't we?