Ellenor Cox

About Ellenor Cox

Ellenor was relieved to discover the term ‘quarter-life crisis’ which explained her leaving her high flying career as a QANTAS executive to go backpacking around the world to ‘find herself’. Her epiphany resulted in a 20+ career as a film producer which saw her collect a swag of awards including an Emmy and an AACTA. Right on cue, her mid-life crisis arrived and she’s now retrained as an executive coach and consultant. Her fascination with how people tick, a love of sailing and spending as much time as possible at the beach have remained her faithful constants in life!

Three lessons learned from the recent ‘Women In Leadership’ summit

Australia’s most successful women recently gathered at the Women In Leadership Summit, giving the audience invaluable advice on how to blaze their own trail.

 

 

At the recent Women In Leadership Summit we were spoiled for choice, as we were inspired by (and were able to learn from) an incredible line-up of successful female leaders.

But throughout the day, there seemed to be common experiences and three recurring themes that these women all shared.

Perhaps author Amy Cuddy sums it up best, when she reminds us that ‘the way you tell your story to yourself matters’.

 

The power of authenticity

In a time of fake news and ego-driven leadership, the new currency of business is trust and authenticity.

Authentic leadership comes when you are familiar with your values (and purpose) and lead from this position.

It involves being prepared to show your vulnerabilities, and embrace the chaos and imperfections that go along with just being yourself; rather than a heavily manufactured (and edited) version of a boss who appears to have everything under control.

When others see that you are being authentic, they are more prepared to trust you. As one speaker beautifully put it, ‘…trust arrives on foot but leaves on horseback’.

There is great power to be derived from authenticity, as your leadership style is not just what you do, but what you stand. This groundedness (and singular passion) is what binds a team together toward a higher purpose.

We were reminded to be prepared to change things, but never ourselves. For in the words of Oscar Wilde, ‘…be yourself as everyone else is already taken.’

 

Put your hand up!

It was repeatedly noted that men are more prepared to put their hand up and take risks than women.

In fact, job seeker statistics have shown that women will often only apply if they have 100% of all the skills and attributes required, whereas men will apply with just a 60% or more match.

‘What if I fail?’ echoes in everyone’s minds, but those who put strategies in place to manage this self-doubt are more likely set to succeed. 

These strategies include an awareness, knowing that it is rare that anyone will have a 100% certainty around a decision before it needs to be made; and that ‘good enough’ (as opposed to ‘perfect’) is by far the better moniker for business.

We were also reminded that resilience is like a muscle, and that we need to keep working it to make it strong. 

Another great tip was to put a comma instead of a full stop after experiencing a failure.

Instead of ‘I didn’t do a great job’, try this one instead: ‘I didn’t do a great job, however, I learnt x, and this is what I’ll do next time…’

We enjoyed so many stories of unexpected opportunities and windfalls. Speakers attributed this to their conscious decision to adopt a growth mindset, and a willingness to embrace uncertainty and possible failure.

In particular, this was noted around trying to plan for a family. We were informed that there is never a best time to balance work and life.

Most CEOs acknowledged that rather attempting a balance, they just saw life as constant art of recalibration and reprioritisation.

 

Find your cheerleaders – both internal and external

Much was made of the importance of seeking not just mentors, but sponsors.

The difference being that a mentor is a ‘dream definer’ whereas a sponsor has the opportunity to be a ‘dream enabler’ through their level of influence and power.

We were also constantly reminded to help the next generation of women to rise, especially in a time where gender equity has stalled on so many fronts.

A personal board of directors was often referred to as a way to creating awareness around the areas in our lives that require support.

This encompasses not just the work arena, but life in general; as mentors and sponsors can include coaches, family members and friends.

One of the most resonating points was the importance around the stories that we tell ourselves. If we examine this monologue and can see it potentially inhibiting us from our goals, then we need to change the monologue – but never the architecture.

 

One of the most resonating points was the importance around the stories that we tell ourselves. If we examine this monologue and can see it potentially inhibiting us from our goals, then we need to change the monologue – but never the architecture.

 

There was something so empowering about spending quality time surrounded by such a wonderful group of successful and ambitious women. 

No-one claimed to have got it right or to have all the answers, but the consistency around these three key messages, and most importantly, staying true to ourselves and allowing ourselves to grasp opportunities became the take home lesson.

 

 

 

 

 

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