Leading from a Healthy Place: Beyond the Superwoman Mindset

by | Apr 19, 2024 | Leadership

Transitioning from the Superwoman mindset to a more healthy leadership model is a journey! We are notorious for trying to do it on our own (whether we succeed or fail). As I’ve stated in previous blogs, the “traditional” leadership model does not work for women, especially Black women. It is time for us to adopt an approach that recognizes that you don’t have to do it all alone and that perfection is not the goal—effective leadership is.

Release Control

One of the first steps to leading from a healthy place is learning to release control. The infamous line, “I’ll just do it myself,” has been our guiding light for too long. We feel that If we just do it all on our own, we won’t fail. But know this: Failure is a part of the learning process. Exhausting yourself from doing it on your own won’t make you any less likely to fail. 

You can’t control everything, nor should you try. Why? It’s not possible, and God is ultimately in control. Before we go any further with this, pause, take a moment, and get comfortable with the idea of releasing control. 

Build a Team You Trust

Now that you’ve had a chance to reflect and get used to the idea of releasing control, let’s look at how this works. To release control effectively, you need a team you can trust. Know that this involves a lot of trial and error, but it is necessary. Taking the time and effort to build a good team provides the opportunity to grow your team and capitalize on more opportunities. Whether your team size is two or two hundred, you need to have people around you that you can trust.

Here are some steps you can take immediately to get to that place. 

  • Get an assistant. This is not an ask. It is a necessity! Whether this person is part-time, full-time, or even a few hours a month, integrate having help into the way that you do business. 
  • Create a plan for one essential task you can delegate. I say essential because I want you to know the impact of delegating something close to you. Once you have decided what that looks like, create a transition game plan. This can include hiring, training, and mentorship. It is okay to take your time on this. Letting go can be hard!

Taking these steps will do two things,  allow you to slowly get used to delegating tasks and give you a taste of the freedom that comes with it. 

Set Boundaries

A healthy leadership approach also involves setting boundaries.  I realize that I am encouraging you and myself to practice this. This means knowing when to step back and recharge. It means putting up your “out of office” guilt-free over the holidays.  When you set boundaries, not only are you doing a service for yourself, but you are inspiring your team to do the same. A leader who respects their own time will inspire their team to find a healthy rhythm for all of the facets of their life, leading to better productivity and well-being.

I say this with love; put away the work phone sometimes. Trust your new hire on the first draft of that briefing. Trust that your assistant is checking your emails while you are on vacation and will handle situations in your absence. Trust the entire process. 

Embrace Vulnerability

Admitting you don’t have all the answers is not a weakness; it’s a strength. Embracing vulnerability by asking for help or input not only alleviates the pressure to be perfect but also fosters a culture of collaboration.  Most authors, regardless of how brilliant or successful, have editors. Yes, everyone from the late great Toni Morrison to Michelle Obama had someone checking for everything from spelling and grammar mistakes to continuity. Because as brilliant as these women may be, they are human.  I also have an amazing editor.  If I had to write and edit my own books, how could I thrive and succeed as an author and entrepreneur? We all need that check and balance, that person we know we can rely on. Figure out who that person is for you. And ask for help when you need it. There is strength in asking for help. 

Celebrate Successes and Learn from Failures

Finally, leading from a healthy place means that you celebrate successes—both big and small—and view failures as learning opportunities. Celebrate new opportunities, clients, and even non-financial wins.  This creates an environment where taking calculated risks is encouraged, and the fear of failure doesn’t stifle innovation.

As I mentioned earlier, you are going to fail. It is a part of the process. The lesson is in what we learn from these failures and pivot to doing better next time. Learning to celebrate success and learning from, rather than punishing ourselves for failure, is a cornerstone of healthy leadership.

In conclusion, leading from a healthy place is about balance, trust, and growth. It’s a leadership style that values the well-being of the leader and the team, fostering an environment where everyone can thrive. So, let go of the Superwoman mentality and embrace a leadership style that supports us as women rather than crushes us. 

For related topics to this blog, check out some of my previous posts. In Celebrating Women’s History Month – No More Superwomen, I discuss the harm of adopting and continuing the Superwoman mentality. In Becoming a Well-Woman Leader, I elaborate and discuss the mindset adjustments you must make to become a well-woman leader. Happy reading!

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