I was watching a film on the weekend that I found compelling - ‘Arrival’ (2016) Paramount Pictures. The hero was a woman, Louise Banks (Amy Adams), a linguistic expert who finds herself in a potential doomsday situation, as she attempts to communicate with the aliens who have landed in 12 places around the world. Earth forces are panicking and want to attack; Louise is racing against time to show something else may be possible.
Her leadership was inspiring and totally unconventional. Brought in by the army, she had no position of authority and was under a lot of pressure from the men in uniform to conform to their way of working and thinking about the aliens as a threat. Not prepared to give the easy answers, and working in a soft yet determined way, Louise was courageous about what she considered important. She backed herself and took some risk. And from that place exerted powerful influence and humanity. The person she led primarily was herself.
I used this story to introduce the Women in Leadership Forums.
My intention in the forums is that in our discussions we start to connect to a more empowering understanding of leadership, a leadership of influence, inspiring change and enabling people to flourish. A leadership that springs from what we consider to be important.
To do that, we need to recognize the ideas of leadership that hold us back, the ones that often we have found it hard to identify with, and so have doubted our leadership capacity: the ones where we are meant to have all the answers, our title has a 'boss-like' quality, and where our followers fall in line. With those running in our heads, we can never measure up and are left feeling like imposters.
The freedom and the challenge comes with letting go these ideas, and determining what is truly important. For the women in the forum that will start by exploring key values, and choosing which to demonstrate more fully in their lives.
For many of the women it is deciding to make a difference.
By exploring and stepping more into what we value, like Amy’s character, we are in a more powerful position to influence and lead- whatever our position in an organisation.