What defines a good leader?

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we asked Key Account Director, Laura McCall, to share some of the insights and lessons that helped shape her career.

‘‘Women need to play to their own strengths such as adaptability, creativity, multitasking and looking at intelligent solutions, rather than the path most commonly tread by men.

Women can see things from a different perspective and should stand up to their true selves.’’

In your opinion, what defines a great leader?

Management is mechanical, leadership is emotional. A great leader inspires others to see and achieve their own potential, has a clear vision, but also recognises the need to make changes. Someone who knows their weakness and is not afraid to accept and improve it. Women are naturally geared up to this task.

What are some traits you think great leaders possess?

Having a team vision and a route to success that incorporates the values and strengths of each member is important.

A good leader isn’t one who leads from the front, but is the hub of the wheel that holds the core of a workforce together.

What do women leaders bring that is unique?

Women are intuitive by nature, they are often attuned to people but surprisingly, are able to make the difficult decisions as they often have a disciplined and pragmatic approach to life.

Its not about being a woman per se, it's about possessing a different skill set and approach to the world in general.

Why is it so important that women have leadership positions?

In a business with a varying client base and workforce, women leaders allow adaptability and relate to others differently. This allows them to use unique skill sets to access certain areas of business relationships, as well as being role models for others. The wider the mindset, the better the progress.

How do you think female leaders can be seen as powerful allies and champions by other women at all levels?

I don’t believe women should be measured as powerful in a traditional sense, as strength is not the same as power. When other women are developing their careers, particularly in a male dominated business such as security, it's important for them to be able to see a realistic path to achievement. I consider my actions as a leader on how to plan and work to get where they desire, to be impactful on both my male peers and for all staff.

How women in leadership can drive important changes in the workplace?

I think the culture of a business is set from the top. With a good balance of females in key roles, a business sends a message that it is inclusive and values its people for what they bring as equals. I think women can have great insight and it allows a more rounded and in tune business model, aligned to the wider diverse world and workforce.

Which woman has inspired you the most and why?

I have always worked in male dominated environments and at first struggled to compete on an even playing field for recognition. I had an excellent sergeant in my formative policing years, who taught me women will never win in direct competition with men. Women need to play to their own strengths such as adaptability, creativity, multitasking and looking at intelligent solutions, rather than the path most commonly tread by men. Women can see things from a different perspective and if they are able to stand up to their true selves, they often find a different or less obvious way around problems.

How have you developed your confidence as a leader?

I have worked on focussing what I am good at, rather than what I think others see or want to see in me. Women are emotional by nature and that can be turned into a passion and dedication for work and success but, it can also be a barrier if not kept in check. I have learned that failure is an equal part of success and that I have to take responsibility for myself to improve and grow.

What advice do you have for women aiming for leadership positions?

I would say think about what you want and why. Look at how you can make a contribution and then set smaller targets to sign post yourself to get there. Don’t measure yourself against male peers, but look at how you can do things differently with your own skills set and personality. Be realistic, failure will be part of your journey, so accept that. Every failure is an opportunity to learn, review and see things differently. A great book I read is the ‘’Chimpanzee Politics’’ by Frans de Waal, which taught me that although there will always an alpha male beating thier chest,as a female you can always find a way to navigate your away around that world to be strong, successful and become an equal contributor.

#IWD2021 #womeninleadership