Roadblocks for women

Find your own way to success as a professional woman—and by all means stay positive. Start with identifying common roadblocks women face as leaders. The good news from executive coach Lynn Anderson is they deal with our own energy so we can make big changes on our own.

When we are trying to reach our goals and achieve our vision, many times we find roadblocks that get in the way of our success. As women, we tend to want to do everything we can for everybody and fall into several roadblock ‘traps’ that take some of our energy away from our focus as leaders. I can say as an executive for over 10 years, I fell into several of these traps myself and had it not been for my executive coach, I may have continued building up these roadblocks rather than acting to combat them along the way.

To me, I was a woman warrior fighting to stay positive, upbeat and not let the energy blocks get me down. I want to share with you, some of the common roadblocks I have seen during my career, along with some ideas on how to overcome these obstacles focusing on positive thoughts to get you the results you are looking for.

1. Many women try to please everyone, taking on more and more responsibility and not fully leveraging their team and those around them. This roadblock stems from several energy blocks including limiting beliefs that women are here to serve others (e.g. men, children, etc.) as well as assumptions, such as, because as an entry-level employee I was successful in the past taking on all types of responsibilities, I will be successful in the future as a leader if I do the same. In taking this course of action, we tend to get our self into a spiral of trying to please everyone and not being able to please our self or those around us.

As leaders, we need to focus on the collective team and how best to utilize each person’s capabilities and not get marred down looking at the trees rather than the forest. For us to be able to make the best decisions possible, we cannot be focused on one hundred different tasks. Taking on so much drains the energy necessary to make key decisions that we will inevitably have to make. Also, not showing trust for our team, by including them in the tasks and activities, takes away from the overall camaraderie of a successfully functioning team. In order to accomplish the tasks at hand, we really need to focus on leveraging the skills of those around us as well as realizing that a powerful leader can say “no” to certain tasks or responsibilities to achieve their overarching goals.

2. Many women interpret leadership as a quality that requires stern action and act against their values and beliefs because of assumptions and interpretations they have as to the qualities of a leader. When we shy away from the person we are and don’t align our values toward actions and activities that are who we are, we start to drain our energy and take away from the energy we need to use as leaders of the team.

A leader knows that no two individuals are alike and values the strengths and gifts each of us brings to the table, including their own. She sees her talents and uses them the best possible way for the team to succeed. She does not see a “one size fits all” script for leadership, but rather one that fits her best. She lets go of the leadership interpretation and sees the vision that will make her the powerful leader she is within her.

3. In general, women hate to brag about themselves and feel that the work speaks for itself. This limiting belief causes many heartbreaks for women. We tend to blame others when we are not recognized for actions we believe we deserve. Let go of these beliefs and be heard! We fail to realize that by not communicating to others the values we bring and our strengths, we limit them in understanding how we can accentuate the needs of the organization and the success of our team. We limit our opportunities to seek out roles that might fit our values and beliefs while waiting for what might come. I challenge all women to create their brand and live it each day. Do not be afraid of who you are and what you stand for (your beliefs) for that is what is unique and wonderful about you. Do not compromise yourself or your values.

As a leader, you should demonstrate the value you bring and what you have to offer, anything less is not showing your leadership traits and style to the team. By being bold, we are also instilling confidence in our self and others around us helping others to succeed and speak up in the process contributing their unique skills and values to the success of the entire team.

4. Women hold back and do not speak out when they are confronted. I know that not every woman does this, but a large majority of women, including me, hate to rock the apple cart. We are happy to be disgruntled and dissatisfied within our own mind or our circle of associates, but ask us to speak up in front of the others and we are petrified. We imagine all kinds of ugly outcomes. I challenge you to recognize these fears and inner critics, take hold of them, and look at an alternative scenario whereby speaking up leads to some amazing results.

For a leader, holding back is not an option. Many times as women, just the fact that we are part of a diverse group of individuals, we can create alternatives and options that others do not see. By doing so we help create a solution that is much broader and stronger than one that is accomplished by a single group. As women, we can learn to not hold back and that speaking our mind is a great gift. What do we have to be afraid of? By doing this, we are also being true to ourselves and our beliefs. Looking at what the best possible outcome could be, rather than the worst, you will be surprised to learn that in most cases everyone wants the best for the organization.

5. Finally, the one big energy block that I see that as women we face is not believing in ourselves and our abilities as individuals and being content to hold up others’ values ahead of our own. Again, while it is great to be a people-focused individual who is concerned about each employee within the organization, we need to care about us, nurturing ourselves to perform the tasks the way our heart is telling us to and looking at the possible ways we can do that to align with the goals of the organization first.

When we are strong and true to our self as a leader, with built-up positive energy around us, we will have the strength and convictions to support the needs of our team. If the goals of the organization are not in alignment with our own personal goals, we need to be strong leaders and realize that there is a group out there just waiting for our talent and not be shy about seeking that group out. Life can be a wonderful and crazy journey; we just have to realize what path we should take along the way. There are so many possibilities, why limit yourself?

As a leader, I encourage and challenge each and every woman to find her own unique path and see the possibilities she has in front of her. Do not hold back but instead push yourself to realize your passions. Your passions will be much easier to speak about and show to others, so do not limit yourself by adhering to others’ values in place of your own. Create that positive energy that can propel you forward with your career and your life in general, overcoming any obstacles that get in your way.

Lynn Anderson is the chief executive officer of Coaching4Abundance LLC (http://www.coaching4abundance.com). Coaching4Abundance helps busy professionals, especially women, connect to their true values and led their life of abundance both professionally and personally. Lynn has over 25 years working in the government, corporate, consulting and now entrepreneurial world.


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