Women leaders share tips

Top Ohio women offer great advice

About stepping into leadership

On Friday at Ohio University I had the pleasure of moderating a wonderful panel on Women in Leadership. The three panelists, all extraordinary women, were former Ohio House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Yvette McGee Brown and OU Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Pam Benoit.

The event was sponsored by the OU’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, where for some years I have visited the Athens, Ohio campus as a senior fellow.

The discussion turned out to be a delight. These women were honest, fun and totally committed to helping the students and others in the audience. Instead of being a stuffy academic occasion, the program generated the special warmth that emerges where great women come together to let their hair down and support each other.

Collectively the panelists offered these words of advice to those who want to grow as leaders:

Be yourself. The most effective leadership style is one rooted in self knowledge.

Follow your moral compass. Develop and maintain a strong sense of your value system

Do the jobs. Look around, see what needs to be done, and do it, even if it means taking up tasks that others don’t want.

Manage your energy. Do what it takes to keep up your health and energy, and know that looking energetic and put together is important.

Know the culture. Understand and address the organizational culture in which you are operating.

Be a role model. Conduct yourself like the leader you hope to be, and carry yourself in a way that will set an example.

Be a mentor. Build your network, look for opportunities to support others and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Have a plan or vision. Know what you want to accomplish, and start taking steps to get there.

Take risks and accept challenges. Look for opportunities and take them, even if it makes you nervous.

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Bev, a former lawyer and Fortune 500 executive, is an executive and transitions coach, and a leadership consultant with a broad and varied practice.

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