Tuesday, May 7, 2024

All Women Need a Leadership Compass!

While women have different experiences than men in the workplace, there is no dispute that women need a leadership compass. Gender equality expert Michelle Redfern has written the book that every woman must read! Her new book, available today, THE LEADERSHIP COMPASS, is truly what her subtitle calls, "The Ultimate Guide for Women Leaders to Reach Their Full Potential."

Michelle has appeared here on my blog three times, and I thank Susan Colantuono for making the introduction. Before I share highlights from the book, here's a brief introduction for this amazing woman and author!

Michelle Redfern is a globally recognized gender equality, diversity, and inclusion strategist based in Australia. She advises organizations in the business and sporting sectors on DEI strategy development and implementation and works directly with women leaders to advance their careers. She has been recognized as one of Australia’s Top 100 Women of Influence and has won awards for her contributions to women’s advancement. She is passionate about what sets her soul on fire, closing the global leadership gender gap, and enabling women to have a career that soars!

That bio may describe Michelle, but in her own words, here are the three things she does:

  1. I fix workplace systems that prevent women and organizations from reaching their full potential.
  2. I help women navigate the systems in their workplace to reach their full potential. I am like a human compass to guide women towards success."
  3. I advocate for the rights of women and girls, particularly in the sporting sector."

Amazon describes Michelle's book as:

"An inspirational and evidence-based guide for women leaders. The Leadership Compass is not about fixing women. Rather, it is a compass to guide women to reach their leadership potential and navigate a system that is still fundamentally stacked against them. It is also a tool to help those already in leadership positions to close the leadership gender gap in their organizations. According to author and award-winning diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategist Michelle Redfern, women need to know, and be known for, critical business skills to reach their full leadership potential. Drawn from the experiences of a leader who has been there and done that, The Leadership Compass is essential reading for women at all stages of their careers."

And now, some highlights from the book:

Michelle provides an important reason for her book. She explained that in a 2020 report by Fortune magazine, of the top 200 best-selling business books, only 17 were written by women: "Why am I sharing this? Because old white guys do not have a monopoly on good ideas and the writing of good business books." More WOMEN LEADERS need to write business books!

A great leadership scenario was presented when Michelle asked readers to "Imagine you are the captain of a cruise liner. You have passengers (customers) who depend on you for a great time on their holiday. The cruise ship organization depends on you to ensure customers have a great experience so they become repeat customers. Your crew depend on you to ensure the working environment is safe and respectful, and that they have all the tools and resources to get their job done. As the captain, you're working from the bridge, and in front of you is the large dashboard that tells you where the ship is headed and how it is performing. You have executive team members who report to you to tell you how the customer experience is going and how the crew are performing. Now, imagine if you spent the entire cruise down in the engine room focusing on the mechanical aspects of the ship...[You'd be] missing out on the perspective you'd get on the bridge, watching out for the overall performance of the cruise liner and all the people on it." An effective leader cannot live (translation, work or hide) in their organization's version of the cruise ship's engine room!

A useful tool Michelle presented was understanding what great leaders and organizations cause. She asked if readers knew what happens when they walk into a room, walk out of a room, have a one-on-one conversation, chair a meeting, send an email, walk around the workplace, and more. Her list of possible outcomes included: support, trust, vision, wisdom, caring, clarity, guidance, innovation, inspiration, knowledge, motivation, movement, outcomes, progress, and results. If these positive outcomes are not your outcomes, then there's much work to be done!

Do you know the difference between the six different types of leadership styles? Michelle explains the differences, key phrases, and impacts on people and culture when discussing the styles:

  1. coercive (directive)
  2. visionary (authoritative)
  3. harmonizing (affiliative)
  4. participative (democratic)
  5. exacting (pacesetting)
  6. empowering (coaching)

And probably the most important lesson in the book is what I have always told my female (and male) colleagues throughout my career, create a personal brand that accurately reflects your expertise and purpose. As Michelle wrote, "You already have a brand, whether consciously crafted or passively shaped by external factors, so be intentional and proactive about the narrative you want to portray...Always remember that you are the best advocate for your brand, so brand intentionally, consistently, and brilliantly." And, a tip, make sure to create a detailed LinkedIn page that aligns with your personal brand.

As Michelle wrote, "Society tells women in many ways that speaking up is not OK. Many of us have been shushed, spoken over or interrupted, or simply cannot get a word in edgewise when some bloke is blathering on and taking up all the oxygen in the room...[So] as a leader, it is your responsibility to speak up on behalf of the following people and groups: yourself, your team members, those who cannot, and your organization." Tell your inner voice, speak up!

Michelle posed the scenario where the word "mentor" was struck from our vocabulary for two reasons:

(1) Because "Mentoring alone will not create forward movement in a woman's career." 


(2) Because "women are over-mentored and under-promoted."

According to a Harvard Business Review article, "Women need what men get all the time, someone prepared to go out on a limb for them. A champion is someone who, behind closed doors, slams their fist on the boardroom table and says, 'If there's only room for one bonus in the budget, it's going to Jane, not John.'"

SHARE THIS: All leaders must consider closing the leadership gender gap as a business priority. ~@RedfernMichelle #LeadershipTip #DebbieLaskeysBlog

My gratitude to Michelle for writing her book, sharing a pre-launch copy with me, and above all, for being an inspiration to all women leaders and for women who aspire to become leaders!

Image Credit: Amazon.

Connect with Michelle at these links:

Website: https://michelleredfern.com/

Twitter/X: https://twitter.com/RedfernMichelle

LinkedIn: https://au.linkedin.com/in/michelleredfern

and https://www.linkedin.com/company/leadtosoar/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AdvancingWomeninBizandSport/

and https://www.facebook.com/LeadToSoar

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/michelleredferndotcom/

and https://www.instagram.com/lead.to.soar/

Book link on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Leadership-Compass-ultimate-leaders-potential/dp/1922611999/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&dib_tag=se&dib=eyJ2IjoiMSJ9.kYWhwMDEFDalKOLCtovEHg.wGuuxM3pvYI50GBb6j4pORPhTE9kAQzyuYzPOMNubR4&qid=1712759528&sr=8-1

Check out Michelle's previous appearances here on this Blog:

FALL BACK TO READING SERIES – Featuring Michelle Redfern (November 2023)


Start Listening to Women = Removal of Barriers for Women Leaders (June 2023)


Tips to Create Gender Equality in Your Workplace (March 2022)


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