Being a leader is one of the most challenging yet rewarding roles we can take on in our careers.
However, whether you are a leader or not, it’s common to face the fear of feeling like you have no idea what you’re doing or how to do it. That’s why we wanted to discuss openly on what it takes to be a fearless leader – and how to take control and get unstuck in partnership with Depop on January 22, 2020.
We brought together different types of leaders from managers, team leads and founders, to give their own tips, advice and experiences on the challenges and successes they faced when leading teams or organisations. Below are the key takeaways of the event as summarised by our guest writer, Esther Osarfo-Mensah:
1. Embrace being wrong. Create an environment where people can speak their mind to you and not just agree with everything you say because you are leading the team.
2. Fail like a scientist. Successes are built on failures. You’ll come away from experiences knowing more than you do now having done an experiment.
3. Be your authentic self when you are leading. If you’re having a bad day it’s okay to show some vulnerability. You can communicate with your team and be an effective leader without changing your personality.
4. Give people a personal user manual when they first start in your team. Ask them to share their working, communication and feedback preferences, as well as more fun things like their favourite movies/music/books!
5. Take time to write down all of your successes. Not only will they highlight your value to others and wider society, but also to yourself. Keep it up throughout the year. As women we are expected to be constantly humble. F**k that.
6. Ask friends and colleagues to send you 3 things they would big up about you to someone else. It’s nice reading, and again highlights to you your strengths.
7. Nominate yourself for an award! It’s a good exercise in promoting and valuing yourself.
8. ASK FOR A PAY RISE. Presenting a business case about pay rises is emotional but shows that you value your job and yourself. Explain how the company benefits from you. Practise with someone close to you. BUT you need the self-awareness to note that you may not deserve it.
Thank you to our lovely panel:
- Maria Raga, CEO of Depop
- Emily Atkinson, Managing Director of DevelopHer & Tech Lead at Conde Nast
- Anne-Laure Le Cunff, Founder of Ness Labs
- Devika Wood, Head of Healthtech and London Accelerator at Wayra
And our moderator for the evening:
- Rachelle Denton, Founder of Storm Collective
About our guest author: Esther Osarfo-Mensah is committed to inspiring the next generation of scientists and innovators. Having completed a Masters in Chemistry, she now works in Science Outreach at the Francis Crick Institute to develop and present science workshops for primary schools. Esther is particularly passionate about advocating for fellow Black people in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) and is Deputy Chair of the Crick’s Race Equity staff network, called PRISM, where she works to promote and support under-represented groups who work and study in STEM. Follow her on Twitter: @EstherMensah16
Thanks for your contribution this month, Esther!