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Leadership Role Models

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Blog-juni-2016-1Leadership Role Models

We are in a room filled with young women, all students at the Technical University of Eindhoven. I have come along with Claudia Hopman who will be giving a workshop on "Your Leadership". As a person who practically needs a calculator to count the number of oranges in the fruit basket I always feel overwhelmed by people with technical brains. What makes these girls even smarter is the fact that by signing up for these kind of workshops they recognise the importance of 'soft' skills as well.

To start off the students are asked to share their ideas about leadership. As I have been present at other similar workshops the answers are starting to show patterns. Women tend to be far more preoccupied with being liked than their male colleagues. The tension caused by wanting to get things done in an efficient manner without hurting anybody's feelings is something they all seem to be dealing with. Women in managerial positions are, more often than men, judged by their "niceness". They are seldom considered "tough but fair" in the same way their male counterparts are who in turn spend very little time worrying about being liked. Alas, the irony.

The purpose of the workshop is to motivate the participants in feeling empowered to use their personal skills when developing their own leadership. What surprises me is that all the girls give examples related to management. In other words, they associate leadership with being a leader of a particular group or team or in charge of a project. I have become increasingly convinced that leadership is an embodiment of convictions that you portray without needing to enforce it through hierarchy. With the current platforms and new business models, cooperation and team work make organisational charts obsolete.

IMG 7633-1As I mentioned in a previous article, it turns out that leadership is in fact individual based, more so now than ever before. By recognising our own personal responsibility in achieving common goals we are all compelled to take our own choices seriously. To consider all the options and let go of previous patterns and believes. This contributes to developing resilience in a world that is changing so quickly that it will be almost impossible to keep up. Resilience gives us the strength to bend with the wind of change without breaking.

But how do we do this resilience thing? Happiness is at the core of creating resilience. So finding out what makes us happy is a good place to start. (See link Agnes Török below on happiness)

IMG 76351-1A charming female professor at the Technical University brought it up before the workshop started. She mentioned that her biggest challenge in the masculine tech world was finding a role model. A female role model who she could look up to, work towards and almost more importantly, prove to her that it is possible to be herself. That it is possible to be an intelligent, successful woman who is sociable, wears heals and is respected for who she is and what she contributes. We all seem to need a permission slip to be ourselves.
Role models. We can't blame the girls for understanding leadership to be management. Our generation has managed, it is now time to lead.

Link Studium Generale

Link Youtube TedX Agnes Török on happiness & resilience




Marina de Boer

Bi-lingual writer about matters that matter. Sharer of Yoga. Real food. Question everything with a smile. Fascinated by transformation on all levels. What inspires it, how does it happen and how to overcome resistance.
Within form she looks for freedom and within freedom she looks for form.
Connecting, learning and sharing insights. Quest for balance between family, health, self development and contributing to the greater cause. On a mission to find what it takes to create a world in balance.
She is an idealist at heart and her practical side moves things forward. She loves clarity and simplicity as long as it is beautiful and inspiring.
Marina, originally Dutch, built her life in Spain but lives in the Netherlands since 2011 with her artist partner Paul and talented teenagers Tessa & Sebastian.
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