One in four women are considering downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce entirely because of the impact of COVID-19 according to a new report released in September by Women in the Workplace, the largest comprehensive study of the state of women in corporate America.
It’s no surprise that women are bearing the brunt of this pandemic. Women leaders know what it takes to manage a crisis better than anyone, and we wanted to know why and how they do it.
We went right to the source for our latest webinar Women Rising & Leading Through Crisis, which featured:
- Laura Beeman, Head Coach, University of Hawaii Women’s Basketball
- Miki Hardisty, Chief Technology Officer, ProService Hawaii
- Allison Izu, Owner, Allison Izu LLC
- Moderated by Trini Kaopuiki Clark, President and CEO, Make-A-Wish Hawaii
Here were our top insights and takeaways.
#1: It’s not a balancing act, it’s a harmonious one
The secret to a successful work/life balance is always elusive. Our panelists admit to being asked regularly how they manage to balance the two. The answer? It’s not about balancing two opposing tasks, it’s about having them work harmoniously together. The reality is that you have to make sure both are working together simultaneously. Got a Zoom meeting with a toddler at home? Slip them the iPad! Need to find time to exercise? Schedule an appointment with yourself to do so. Or maybe break up the monotony of the day by taking short walks with your dog in between work calls. Work and life looks different for everyone. But making time for both is a common issue we all can relate to, especially in these difficult times.
#2: Fail forward
Our panelists shared different instances where each has had to overcome challenges during this pandemic. It is almost inevitable that leaders experience failures along the COVID road. However, for our women leaders, failure is just part of the process. It is not a failure, just a shift. It’s important to view moments of failure as part of the growth process. Failure has to be an option because you will always need it to learn to be better in order to succeed. Failing forward means defining what that lesson means for yourself so you can learn to overcome it.
#3: Allow yourself some grace
Managing stress while running a business or a team is no easy feat. One of our women leaders admitted that she hasn’t quite figured out how to do it all. But, she allows herself some grace. Being flexible with what you can manage is the bare minimum. Anything beyond that is pressure you do not need. Be open and honest with yourself first — and then your team — when you’re feeling moments of stress. You’ll often find yourself among empathetic ears with a willingness to help. Remember, we’re all in this together.
Your best self is an authentic one
Entrepreneur. Partner. Parent. Leader. Women often wear many hats and find themselves with many roles. When you are so many things to so many people, who are you, really? Be yourself. If you can manage your different roles with your most authentic self out front, you can manage through anything with a clear conscience and a leader that people can trust. Our panelists agree that showing vulnerability begets respect.
A crisis can sometimes lead to pivotal moments for any leader. For women leaders, we’ve learned that they’ve always been up for the challenge and will continue to be. Although our panelists have had to think through certain scenarios differently or have had to educate themselves more to navigate through this unpredictable time, one thing is for certain. What makes a great woman leader is vulnerability.
When survival is the key objective for most leaders right now, women have the advantage of being resilient through grace and grit because in many ways, they have been here before.