Women in Executive Leadership: Steps to Magnify Voice & Brand-building
Women have a major role to play in the brand-building exercise as executive leaders.
There is no doubt about the fact that women play multiple roles persistently – 24×7 – quite efficiently. From time immemorial, they played various roles such as daughter, spouse, mother, sister, friend, companion, and so forth. With the advent of late modern times, the role of the executive has been added. Today many women executives are climbing the leadership ladder in corporate arenas, though the number should have been much higher. How do women strategize to intervene in building up powerful brand/s becomes an important issue in the global tech market?
Strategizing is important for at least two reasons. First, it needs a good amount of homework to venture into the stiffly competitive brand-building of the corporate world. Women higher executives need to develop their voice and magnify it suitably to intimate with others. Second, women leaders, unlike their male counterparts, have to negotiate the complex web of patriarchy in the professional world. Entering the branding challenge requires three major steps.
Taking advantage of the cutting-edge communication order: One major development that has become conducive to the assertion of voice is the emergence of multimodal communication systems in the present era. Apart from the classical genres of communication such as print, audio, and video modes, the development of the Internet and the forceful emergence of social media have facilitated the scope of women executive leaders to communicate their ideas in real-time to employees and customers/clients. This expansion of the media world induces women to shed hesitation and share ideas with others. In the process, it serves the purpose of developing one’s leadership brand with considerable depth and spread. Of course, in such scenarios, the content is of core importance. Appropriate and relevant content has to be created by utilizing knowledge and experience, and it has to be circulated through appropriate channels to set up and sustain a brand. The same content may need to be customized to suit a particular media – be it social media or a website or YouTube, to name a few.
Developing a strong voice marked by courage, authenticity, and consistency: Voice as a foundation of powerful brand-building exercise for women executive leaders must bear a combination of both persuasion and confirmation. Let there be no doubt that such a voice needs to be stable – with no trace of faltering. Such construction of voice must also project authenticity and if needed for this purpose, it must speak the truth. An authentic voice should afford to go against the stream of public opinion if need be. Speaking truth has one major advantage: it adds to the credibility of the speaker and brand image. Women need to exert their power by sounding authentic and credible to employees and customers/clients.
Drawing Margins, energizing priorities: Let’s face it, women executive leaders need ‘extra energy’ to break the existing glass ceiling in the entrepreneurial-corporate world not just because they are women but also because they are trying to situate and serve at the higher part of the hierarchy. They have to face various impediments, both internal and external. To negotiate this, they also have to competently and realistically draw the margins, the borders about what they are, what to do, and what not to do. One may describe it as self-assessment. There is also the need to take care of the self, both in terms of the physical self and in terms of mental state, as the power of energetic and innovative leadership vis-à-vis branding necessitates both. It is also good to realize that no leader in the world can satisfy everybody every time. So, drawing margins will also include handling pressure by allotting specific time to specific work and rationalization of goals. What to include and what to exclude is extremely important in this context.
So, making use of the available resources – material, human and symbolic is the way to move ahead. Creating a voice and reaching employees and customers through brand-building is not a one-shot process. It requires a reasoned and practical approach.