I am a big believer that for things to change we must lead it. We all have the opportunity to lead change within our own spheres of influence to make a difference.
Today, we celebrate International Women’s Day focusing on the theme #BreakTheBias. I think this is a powerful focus because if we take time to reflect, we all have unconscious bias that we can disrupt and move towards something more empowering.
As an example, given the disruption over the past couple of years to business models and working environments, we now know that we can operate in a very different way to how we used to. The term flexibility has been given new life and new meaning. So has the word relevance.
So, what do I believe we can #BreakTheBias about?
Firstly, we need more conscious and emotionally intelligent leaders who will disrupt and dismantle old style business models that no longer serve the majority. I refer to organisations that continue to operate based on stale, outdated leadership and operating models purely focused on profit and to serve a minority. Leaders need to be courageous and move to a more relevant, agile and flexible way of working that empowers and inspires their people to contribute and participate. We need to understand that people are the power in our business and that a more vulnerable, kind and empathetic style of leadership will spark the magic you are looking for.
Secondly, we need to #BreakTheBias around who can do what, when and how in terms of job role. We need to get smarter in this space and organisations that understand this are flourishing, their people are flourishing and results are testament to this. We need to stop dictating to people about what they can and can’t do based their life circumstance or what worked in the past and seek solutions for what is going to work now and for people’s future. We need to enable and encourage people to do their best work, at the time they work best and facilitate this to happen where works best for them and the organisation. It simply makes sense! This will contribute significantly to retaining good people in our organisations too.
Finally, we can all #BreakTheBias about what is holding us back. Women in particular are often struck down by imposter syndrome, comparison-itis and self-doubt that limits them from stepping up and using their voice. If we can disrupt those thoughts and start believing that our uniqueness and strengths are an advantage rather than a deficiency then we will grow in confidence.
We need to call out biases when we see it at play. It may feel uncomfortable and almost confrontational, but unless we disrupt people’s often unconscious thinking about particular things then nothing will change. This is where we have the choice to lead the change we want to see.
I hope you enjoy your IWD and celebrate the uniqueness that you, your colleagues, partner, sister, daughter bring to your lives as powerful women in their own right.