12 Themes Of Women’s Leadership Distilled From My Career

Posted: February 23, 2015

These 12 themes of women’s leadership come from lived experience in the world of work. 

Professionally, I am grateful to the enriching and fulfilling assignments I have had over the last 16 years and the exposure I have gained in multiple facets of talent management. The opportunity to work with diverse groups and great business leaders helped me nourish my thought process.

Like other working women, I’ve experienced great times and challenging moments and I do believe these have shaped my outlook to life.  The narrative below captures these reminiscences from my career around 12 themes.

  1. Discover yourself. Identify your strengths and limitations. View feedback as a gift as this trait contributes to your learning agility.
  2. Be resilient and willing to adapt to change. Today’s dynamic environment and mutiplexities require you to work amidst ambiguity and practise resilience.
  3. Have this insatiable appetite to learn. Development brings evolution. Organisations aren’t looking for ‘dinosaur’ learners; the adult learning model of education, exposure and experience can contribute to this evolution. I enjoy and encourage practicing coaching and facilitation as it stimulates thinking, contributes to creativity and harnesses accountability.
  4. Identify a sponsor who’ll promote and grant you opportunities to demonstrate your competence. Equally important is identifying a Mentor(s) to guide you on avenues of building business skills and behavioural attributes.
  5. Build a network & strengthen relationships. A related quote I thought very insightful was “The desk is a very dangerous place to view the world” by John Le Carre and a solution outlined in the book authored by Keith Ferrarzi Never eat alone. This can help you get visibility, expand your circle of influence both internally and outside the organisation.
  6. Find yourself a support structure and harbour independence in your children. Securing domestic help is getting challenging; back yourself up with support from family and friends. Today at seven years of age, my daughter makes the market lists and co-manages our home when I’m away. This independence has a tremendous impact on her confidence. From five years of age my daughter began compeering at her annual day to an audience of 800 parents.
  7. Stay confident! It can trigger insecurities, clash of egos and inadequacies across genders. Flex your style to work with others and remind yourself which battle you want to fight, keeping in mind that it is the war you want to win.
  8. Know what you want, both in your professional and personal endeavor and keep the focus irrespective of societal pressures and nagging! I recall travelling on a business trip when my daughter was four months old and being asked, “Don’t you feel guilty?” The answer was NO as I knew it was to give us a better life!
  9. Be authentic, role model your values and beliefs. “Be the change you want to see” as Gandhi once said. Don’t be a utilitarian – stay thoughtful, caring and helpful. Role model kindness, that’s what you’ll be remembered for!
  10. Listen to diverse points of view/opinions. I thoroughly enjoyed my conversations with my taxi driver when I travelled to Singapore – from politics to lifestyle, he knew it all.
  11. Practice emotional hygiene. Stop ruminating. Avoid attaching yourself to situations or people. It will give you a feeling of happiness and fulfilment.
  12. Make time for your wellness – somebody once, said it’s just a job. Don’t take yourself so seriously! I make time over the weekends to do what my daughter enjoys most and don’t deprive myself of visiting the spa, eating out, sprucing up my wardrobe and holidaying.

As MJ Akbar once signed off, “Shahrazad, to a life that matches the Arabian nights and I decided to live to that!

I would like to end with a quote from Paulo Coelho, “What is success? It is being able to go to bed each night with your soul at peace knowing you did your best” and to me that’s what’s important – that you tried.

Yes You Can concept via Shutterstock

Shahrazad Zaid (Sherry), age 38 years Born in Calcutta and having spent over 25 years

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Comments

2 Comments


  1. Well written. Appreciate it!!! This is all we all women have to work on since somewhere or the other in our professional life we tend to ignore these points and fall prey to depression and anxiety creating imbalance between our professional and work life.

  2. While vision inspires, quality content commands respect. Having a clear personal vision is fundamental. More Power to you Sherry, enjoyed your article.

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