Leadership Skills for Women | Keynote Speaker Dana Brownlee

Leadership Skills for Women – Tips and Best Practices

The truth is that women leaders often face unique challenges that require more specialized leadership training.  As a corporate trainer and keynote speaker, I’ve worked with many women leaders who struggle to strike a balance between being assertive and focused on results while also being sensitive and focused on building and sustaining relationships.  Too assertive – they’re often labeled a tyrant (or worse).  Too sensitive – they’re not viewed as strong.  In many ways, walking that tightrope is a bit of a lose/lose proposition.

In my experience, one of the best ways to walk that fine line is to work towards a balanced leadership style that focuses fairly equally on task and relationship.  I call this the Thoroughbred Leader.  These are the leaders (male or female) that I’ve seen be most successful in the workplace.  This type of balanced approach enables women to address difficult situations with poise and results orientation simultaneously.  These videos provide specific examples for how to use this balanced approach when managing difficult meeting situations.



One of the most powerful techniques that women can use particularly during times of conflict is turning your comment/statement into a question.  When you’re in a group situation and things get tense and you’d like to move the conversation along, that can happen two different ways.  You might say something like….

  1. “Jack, I understand your point about the vendor delays, but we’re getting off topic with that and need to refocus on the inventory discussion.” or
  2. “Jack, that’s an interesting point that we hadn’t surfaced previously.  Vendor delays have certainly been a big problem.  I’m glancing at the clock and realizing though that we only have 10 minutes allotted for the inventory discussion and we’ve been discussing this issue for a few minutes.  Is this something that needs to be discussed/resolved now, or could this possibly be placed on our Parking Lot for future discussion?”

Option 2 is inherently less threatening and allows the speaker to decide on net steps (but gently guides them to move on).  I would never advocate questioning all the time.  That could be perceived as being too passive.  But when you’re in tense, conflict situations and need to intervene to move things forward, it’s a great technique.