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Women's vision is real power source, Helgesen says

Thursday, May 26, 2016  
Posted by: Rufino Cabang
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The power of women's vision is an undervalued asset — but key to positioning yourself as a leader, leadership consultant Sally Helgesen told online attendees during the fourth NEW Summit Speaker Series webinar, May 24, 2016.

Helgesen, author of The Female Vision: Women’s Real Power at Work, defined vision as:

  • What you notice
  • How you value what you notice
  • How you "connect the dots" to tell yourself and others about why what you notice is important.

Many women are shortchanged as leaders— and some shortchange themselves — as leaders when the way they see the world isn't translated at the leadership level as something powerful. "There are differences in how men and women generally notice," Helgesen explained. "Research has shown that women have a different noticing style — they tend to notice many things at once, like a radar, whereas men are laser-focused, more likely to notice one thing at a time in sequence."

To position yourself as a visionary, Helgesen recommends advocating for what you notice and making sure the "laser-noticers” get it. Remind yourself, "I am an ambassador for creating a culture of doing the right thing," Helgesen says, "and be prepared to back it up!"

Don’t say ‘Sorry’

Often, when offering answers or explanations, women may find themselves "cut off" by male bosses who want a bottom-line answer. "We don't want to get flustered or back off,” Helgesen advises, "and we certainly don't want to say 'I'm sorry.'"

Instead, tailor your delivery for a laser-focused person, saying simply, "Thank you. Here is the point," and delivering a quick line with no adjectives, no "justs," no "buts", and adding, "I'll send you a one-pager with bullets to follow up."

Staying in the moment and keeping distractions in check will help focus your vision, she said, warning against multitasking "when our primary task is to be present for another person; when we're in conversation, when we're supposed to be listening, when our task is real communication."

"Your full attention is your greatest gift to others," Helgesen said.

NEW members may register online for the next NEW Summit Speaker Series webinar "Taking the Lead: Power, Presence & Your Personal Brand" with Kailei Carr, June 22 at 1 p.m. ET, for free. Members may view previous webinars in the NEW Study Hall.

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