It’s Important for Leaders to Take Risks

In my opinion, one of the obstacles facing women in leadership in today’s world is that women feel they need to sanitize their views and their presentation styles, so that they can keep their positions in leadership. Often in a meeting, board room, or other situation, there will be only one woman in the room. In these situations, women can find themselves unconsciously (and sometimes consciously) sanitizing their style of presentation and their opinions or recommendations in a way that they believe men will find more palatable.

Women in leadership positions have worked hard to get there and, often times, need the income from their employment. It can feel like a risk to voice an opinion that may differ from those expressed by the men in the room. And it can feel like a risk to just be oneself in interactions with the men. Diversity of ideas should mean that everyone can feel comfortable taking risks, and not feel that their positions, which they have worked so hard to obtain, are at risk if they do.

As women leaders, we should do a gut check when we are in a meeting, a board room, or other situations—especially when there are younger women present. Are we being authentic in our interactions? Are we being true to ourselves and to what we are trying to accomplish? Or are we taking a safe route? The more risks established women leaders take—even if they are micro risks—the easier it could and should be for women leaders to be themselves.