As a senior executive millennial black woman, I have always been fascinated by black women showing up in every industry and owning their own space. Just because you’re a black woman doesn’t mean you’re immediately given responsibility. These women who paved the way know that it takes more than pretty pumps to hold the position.It takes competence, guts and grace to be a Black woman in leadership. Here are her five lessons I learned from the Black woman who paved the way for me.
I dedicate this article to 10 amazing black women who shaped my professionalism. Aja Corinne Magee, Bonita Jordan Parker, Michele Taylor Howard, Chris Christian, Lee Andra Khan, Dr. Leah Bush, Sharon Eskridge, Diana Knight Lewis, Mitty Hamilton, Dr. Rev Stacey Edwards Dunn. From each one I learned the impeccable value of owning a room, bringing a table and, above all, knowing my worth. And to my mother and grandmother, your foundation is my go-to. Each of you is a mentor and guide on my journey.
Lesson 1: Be authentic
This is my favorite lesson. My mastery of authenticity has taken me to every position I have taken on in the last six years. People tinker with this bag when they confuse authenticity with transparency. Being authentic doesn’t necessarily mean being open. Being authentic is simply being yourself. Credibility, not skill set, is often what gets you the job. They can honestly hire anyone to fill the role, but what they can’t find is you. It means believing that you have the ability and ability!
Lesson 2: Own Your Skill Set
To own something is to be responsible. Ownership comes with power, but power should not be confused with dictatorship. Often when black women take leadership roles, they are pre-judged and have to work twice as hard to be respected and overwork to deliver results. Can you really show up at work like yourself? Is there room for authenticity? Yes, when you know you belong in that space. As a Black woman in leadership, belonging also means creating space for new Black women to come after you.
When I step into a space for personal growth or apply for a position, I often ask myself: Do I market myself well through my job and online presence? Will my network validate my skill set? I mean adding a hint of dazzle (because that’s what makes me who I am).
Lesson 3: Dress to be spoken to
To be honest, I’m still learning this. Through my observations, I have learned that well-dressed women deserve respect. Respect that opens doors to conversations, partnerships and tables. When it comes to leadership, the way you dress speaks before you speak.
I didn’t always understand the value of dress at work. Well-dressed black women are expressive, creative, and imaginative enough to add sauce and swag to their wardrobes. A well-dressed black woman in leadership sets the tone and the standard. I love it for us!
Lesson 4: Your Gift Can Impact the World
To quote my favorite poem by Useni Eugene Perkins: who are you really When we formed, we each had special talents and abilities. Success comes from knowing how to use our gifts. That makes all the difference.
What are you doing in this world if you can’t reach your full potential? can speak You seek to offer opportunities through your influence. You are trying to inform people who are not qualified to talk about issues that affect your day-to-day work as a woman of color. Seek ways to ensure that
Having influence is the ultimate power play. Being influential means your voice is irreplaceable. Influential is seen in moments of validation when she chooses to build instead of destroy.
Lesson 5: Delivery
be perfect. do quality work. Appear. Take responsibility for yourself and the tasks assigned to you. Delivery is the most important lesson in my opinion. Delivery is synonymous with results. Your presentation may get you in the room, but the results will keep you in the room.
For those of us who work tirelessly to reach a position of power, it is the ability to deliver that keeps it. Don’t underestimate delivery. That’s the secret to leadership you ultimately want to achieve. You have this, Sith!
In conclusion, we hope these five lessons learned from Black women in leadership will help you get started on your path to the top. Most of all, I hope you understand that your presence is not only necessary, but necessary.
With that said, I encourage all of us to be impactful, courageous, and nimble. am!