Early-aughts film reference aside — seriously, this is backed by science: women are better bosses. Studies from Harvard Business Review, Villanova University, Leadership Circle, and more found that women are more effective, compassionate, impactful leaders—and they thrive in positions of power. Despite being underestimated, interrupted, and all the other bullsh*t that may happen underneath the glass ceiling, women in the workplace are getting it done and doing it better. Reveling in that knowledge? So are we.
Let’s discuss three easy ways you can act on this info, step into your power, and make things happen in your own career.
Fact: Women change the rooms they lead.
Some call it magic! Women were shown across multiple studies to have “transformational” leadership styles, or ways of leading that inspire and stimulate growth in their direct reports and coworkers. Women who lead uplift. They galvanize. They challenge. In other words? Women transform the rooms they enter—and everyone in them.
Act: Don’t underestimate your leadership abilities.
You’ve likely led at work in countless ways you haven’t even recognized. Taught a coworker an easier way to complete that task? Pitched ideas in a meeting? Ran a brainstorm session or organized an internal event? You’re a leader—and if you’re ready to embrace a more senior role, angle for that promotion. If you’re already grumbling about not feeling qualified, remember that women are less likely to apply to positions they don’t tick every single box for—it’s time to take a chance on yourself.
If you’re not into a title bump or management opportunities, there are plenty of other ways to step into your boss energy. Speak up in that discussion. Finish your thought when you’re interrupted. And, delete the fourth exclamation point in that email (we know, we get it!!!!). Know your value as a transformational force in a room, and own it.
Fact: Women kick butt in a crisis.
Prepare to be unsurprised: yes, women are better in crisis—just ask this Harvard Business Review study. In thirteen categories, female managers and executives were found to be significantly stronger leaders than their male counterparts during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this global emergency, women in charge demonstrated initiative, adopted new strategic perspectives, and drove results better, further, and faster. Long story short: when the going gets tough, women take the reins—and they’re successful.
Act: Check your need to constantly solve other people’s problems.
Knowing you’re cool in a catastrophe is fantastic, but just because you can save the day everyday, doesn’t mean you should. Are you rescuing coworkers from their mistakes on a daily basis? Always letting someone else’s poor planning add several bullet points to your to-do list? Stepping outside of your job description because no one else will do it? Well, stop. Supporting your team is one thing—being a decorative doormat is another.
When it comes to your own workload, do take note of the ways you adapt to new systems and respond to unexpected challenges. Don’t be shy about bringing up problems you’ve solved during your next performance review, job interview, or one-on-one with a manager! Agility in crisis is an invaluable skill—if ya got it, flaunt it. Within firm boundaries, and without people-pleasing. Capeesh?
Fact: Women give props where it’s due, and they’re honest about progress.
Everyone knows it: working in a vacuum suuuuucks. Completing assignment after assignment with no idea how you’re performing can be extremely discouraging (and frankly, boring). According to Gallup's latest study, women who lead recognize that. Across 195 countries, employees that report to female supervisors are 1.29 times more likely to have discussed their progress in a role with their manager, and 1.17 times more likely to receive praise for a job well done each week. When women are in charge, they tend to give consistent feedback and contribute to their reports’ career development, which is fantastic for morale.
Act: Keep an eye on your own development.
Don’t wait for your supervisor to tell you how you’re performing! Self-assess. A super quick way? At the end of each week, write your accomplishments down—every project, every task—and any challenges you came across. Look it over carefully, and save it somewhere (bonus points if you use that list to set goals for the following week). If you’re too busy for weekly, try monthly or quarterly.
This exercise isn’t for your morning affirmations—you’re charting your growth within your role. When you’re ready for the next step in your career, whether that be a promotion, a raise, or a totally new venture, you’ll have a strong case for how much you’ve been killing it. And more importantly, you’ll be aware of how much you’ve grown over time.
P.S. Entrepreneurs aren’t exempt! You’re still an employee, even if you’re your own boss. Check in with yourself just the same, and give yourself plenty of praise when it’s due. You’ve earned it.