By Valerie Martinelli, MPA – Leadership, Life, & Career Coach/ HR & Management Consultant

Women need to learn how to own it. Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong. Fear, discomfort, and anxiety have a way of keeping women from moving forward, including in their careers. When we think of leadership, we think of men because that is what we saw and read about growing up. However, we are now entering a new era to inspire more female leaders. So, how can we continue to make that happen?

We are great at making sure we meet all the criteria or that each of the boxes are checked before we apply for a job or ask for a promotion. Once we have those promotions, we also don’t raise our hands or speak up enough in meetings because we want to be sure that we are prepared before doing so. For some, being prepared isn’t enough- it requires being highly over-prepared. Even then, some women still don’t speak up. So, as a Career and Leadership Coach that begs me to ask a few questions. What are we so afraid of? How can we break this cycle? What effective call to action can be put in place so we can learn how to let go? Why is leadership so intimidating for so many women?

Authentic Leadership is Powerful

How does leadership affect us? How can we use our fears of leading to our advantage? Leadership is personal. It is about being authentically who you are and owning it. Is that what’s scary? For many, yes. There are many types of leaders, however, it’s necessary to grow into the role prior to losing each of your fears. As women, some of us tend to be people pleasers and it is important to remember that trying to make everyone happy in the end is impossible and someone will have always something to say either way. I emphasize being true to yourself because that will always feel right and make you a better leader.

Leadership does not require you to pretend that you are someone or something that you are not. In fact, it requires you to own who you are, including all your amazing qualities- and as I previously stated, this can be the most daunting part for many women. This is not something that we are accustomed to, especially since we do not have many role models to look to as examples. Authentic leadership is also one of the rarest and most sincere ways of leading, however, it is difficult to step outside of our comfort zones and stand up for something or speak up for someone, or ourselves.

Empowering others, whether that is one person, or many, exemplifies true leadership. If you can own how incredible and worthy you are, then it is possible more women will follow suit once they have a role model. Psychology also suggests that “owning it” makes all the difference in how people perceive you and how you interact with others around you. In this type of behavior, we stay true to our core set of beliefs, including our integrity. In my professional opinion, this is one of the highest levels of personal development and self-actualization because we do so with the understanding of our imperfections and flaws, yet with the ability to accept them, be proud of who we are, and what we are capable of.

Read the rest of Valerie’s article on the League website next week!


Valerie Martinelli, MPA is the CEO & Owner of Valerie Martinelli Consulting, LLC and Founder of Innovate 50/50. Connect with Val on Twitter @AskVMC or via website