As a female leader in business, I often find myself conflicted about how I want to reflect on International Women’s Day.

Do I shout from the rooftops about the amazing female team members who are now part of MAD-HR and make me grateful every day that I am following this professional path?

Should I recount all the past experiences in which I have had to overcome discrimination or question the level of gender inequality in my career?

Or should I say nothing of International Women’s Day – because, perhaps, I should not feel there is a ‘need’ for a single day to mark out the accomplishments of women.

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This year, I’ve chosen to take the opportunity to share with you about Centred Leadership, because, whether you be male or female, I absolutely believe it tells us so much about who can achieve and succeed in the world.

For those who haven’t stumbled across this great concept, I urge you to take a look at the findings of McKinsey and Company, and in particular, of the truly inspirational Joanna Barsh.

Joanna took it upon herself to interview many successful women leaders, and to create a model of understanding for why it is that certain people are able to ‘thrive’ professionally, and to become even more effective leaders.

Her model is a fascinating ‘coming together’ of five core elements, which, in her words, allow a leader to ‘become aware of the mindsets and beliefs that drive us… then practice skills which allow us to achieve that vision’.

These five ‘pieces of the pie’, are as follows:

  • Meaning – Finding and building from our purpose
  • Framing – Facing adversity with self-awareness, and shifting and adapting our behaviour 
  • Connecting – Establishing trust and inspiring others to trust us more so we build community
  • Engaging – Owning who we are and taking risks
  • Managing Energy – Generating (and restoring) energy in self and others

I’m sure, like me, you can read those five key themes and see areas in which you have great strengths, and also, where you might need to work hard, every hour of every day, at maintaining your focus or resolve regardless of your gender.

Some of us are great at knowing our purpose and building trust, but we lack the element of risk-taking and standing tall for what we believe to be the right move.

Others might be brilliant at the chameleon-like approach of adapting behaviour in the face of adversity, but we’re not so good at building community.

If there’s a takeaway from this interesting research, I think it’s that we must all remember that individual skills and strengths work exceptionally well for us in different circumstances of our professional lives, but, glued together, we are able to find the consistent leader within us.

My team and I welcome working with both men and women who want to embrace their leadership roles and produce the best outcome for their business, so if you would like to discuss this more, please do get in touch with us at MAD-HR.

In the meantime, to one and all – Happy International Women’s Day.