Arrive and thrive : 7 impactful practices for women navigating leadership with Susan Mackenty Brady

“The concept & construct of leadership as we know it is fundamentally a male developed, created construct.. so how would women thrive ? “

Susan and I explore women navigating leadership in a world that is still designed for men, and how we can intentionally nudge the system and create more inclusive leadership and decision making practices for sustainable change.  How can we change the conversation on ‘fixing the women’ to ‘fixing the system’ ?

What we think and feel drives what we say and do and we need to tap into this a lot more than we do today as leaders. The universal question is how can we use this to lead from our best self ? How can we develop this to use our talents and energy and be in service of others to serve a more collective vision ? 

Inclusive leadership however is not just about women and we need to use our joint talents to level the playing field. 

How can we create systemic change in the system and step out of the exclusive groups often created in organisations ? 

How can we create organisational culture change and empower people through learning, equity and inclusivity ? 

Susan shares her years of research, insights and experience from working with leaders and organisations around the world.

The main insights you’ll get from this episode are :

–       Many senior women lack support once they ‘arrive’ and do not thrive, which is not an attractive model for effective leadership: they must lead with their best self, bring unique value and foster equal respect for greater innovation, creativity and psychological safety.

–       We must be and return to our best self (in times of adversity), which requires deliberately developmental practices from various fields such as sociology, anthropology and psychology,

–       We must slow down and notice our thoughts and feelings; take time to respond, in order to prevent negative reaction or harm to self or others; heed our second consciousness; go from moment to moment and get to know ourselves at our best.

–       Enablers/blockers to our best selves are important for efficacy and a precondition for thriving. We must ‘Velcro-in’ and develop an allergy to disempowerment – there are no rewards for putting yourself last.

–       Being competently courageous means ensuring the right conditions for action by establishing a strong internal reputation based on values and managing our messaging and emotions.

–       Relationships are a constant cycle of harmony, disharmony and repair, and courage needs quick and honourable reparation. Being appreciative is FREE and creates an organisation in which people feel valued.

–       Courageous curiosity is a move away from defensive reaction – curiosity is the fuel that drives the car that is your best self. If leaders are transparent about their learning journey, we can all learn together.

–       Women in the corporate world must purposefully and intentionally foster muscle, fortitude and agility to thrive whilst remaining resilient (positive deviance). Women make connections more naturally and build meaningful human relationships.

–       The notion of connection is at the forefront post-pandemic: leadership is a social and human relationship and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to creating connection in a team.

–       COVID forced us to confront our co-workers – with vulnerability, humanity, inclusion, uniqueness and belonging – and be intentionally inclusive. Indeed the three most important qualities of authenticity are honesty, openness, and confidence (owning imperfections).

–       Tools for fostering resilience include reflective sense-making and capitalising on learning – we must continuously rediscover aspects of our own value, jettisoning that which no longer serves us and ascertaining what is missing.

–       There is systemic bias particularly for women in leadership: leaders must start with themselves (‘changing me changes we’), demonstrate appreciative upstanding and create a collective environment.

–       Organisational change to advance women must be leader-led and create a culture in which women can thrive and are empowered through learning, equity and inclusivity – formal sponsorship should be used to leverage potential to bring about change.

–       Leaders must be change agents – not alone, but with a trusted circle inside and outside of work; they must make points respectfully for micro behaviour changes and do their best for others to follow suit. 

–       Inclusion is not even on the table if disrespect still exists in a gender equity context. Love must replace fear: fear-based behaviour is deficient and founded on scarcity, whereas abundance and appreciation are love-based.

You can find out more about Susan Mackenty Brady here :

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Suzie Lewis

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