James Kouzes and Barry Posner, co-authors of the award-winning and best-selling book, The Leadership Challenge, call women to speak up and be heard. “Finding your voice is absolutely critical to becoming an authentic leader,” they advise. “If you can’t find your voice, you’ll end up mouthing words that were written by some speechwriter, or mimicking the language of some other leader who’s nothing like you at all.”
Nancy Beach reminds us that finding one’s voice also involves taking the time to hear from God, and being devoted to the discipline of solitude despite the busyness of life. In 1 Corinthians 2:13, Apostle Paul supports this notion: “This is what we speak ... words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.” With the anointing of the Holy Spirit, ministers serve as more than just another speaker, but rather as one set apart to bring the life transforming message of God.
The Centered Leadership Project, led by Joanna Barsh and Susie Cranston, identified that positive framing was a quality that leads to exceptional leadership in women. Positive framing provides the vigor and clarity to keep moving ahead no matter what the difficulty. Leaders who implement positive framing see the facts clearly, without allowing negative feelings to distort their view of reality and amplify the dangers. In addition, women who implement positive framing maintain a flexible mind-set. This enables them to learn new skills. On the contrary, people with a “fixed” point of view perceive their talents and abilities as limited, and feel threatened by new concepts. The CTS study also supported that successful women ministers possess a flexible disposition and openness to new ideas.
Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, notes that the inability to positively frame difficult situations creates leaders who take on unnecessary blame, and misconstrue temporary situations for a lasting and permanent situation. This oftentimes leaves them helpless. Barsh reinforces this idea: “Your unconscious emotional responses — triggered by anxiety and fear — can twist events into a different shape. You see setbacks as mistakes and failure, finding yourself spiraling down; taking the emotional plunge that saps you of the energy to take action.” Studies repeatedly show that women, in particular, tend to ruminate on difficulties and remain stuck. Over-thinking a situation is toxic and interferes with a person’s ability to solve problems and lead effectively. Successful women learn to reframe events and deal effectively with their emotions. They remain centered and in control when faced with obstacles, chaos, and adversity. Positive framing is about finding alternative solutions and learning to “work around” something, or even creating an entirely new strategy.