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Oswald Women’s Leadership Council: 9 Lessons in Virtual Leadership

June 25, 2020
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In my experiences as a female leader, we spend a good portion of our careers trying to attain our desired status and position, while also creating and fostering our leadership style for an open, in-person and community-based work environment.

Given that this pandemic has shifted more of us to virtual work, how can we positively impact organizations?

This article summarizes a conversation Oswald’s Women’s Leadership Council recently enjoyed with two seasoned female executives from a major Northeast Ohio corporation.

Both executives are using their insight to uplift, encourage and motivate their employees primarily through virtual technology. 

Multiple lessons in leadership growth were gleaned by the Council which can now be seamlessly applied to a virtual environment.

  • Be purposeful and confident in your choices.
  • Know you have more choices than you recognize.
  • Be a businesswoman first and then your title/job.
    • One Council member remembered the importance of basic leadership principles – be a leader without a title. No one sees your title on a virtual call!  
  • There is a reason why you have the position that you do. It is because people saw something in you of value, so bring it on!
    • Use your value to exude positivity and hope to those you lead. You’ll succeed together!
  • Do not sell yourself short – most women do – get rid of that!
  • Be yourself. Own it.  Be authentic.
    • One member felt this will help her virtual communication be more genuine.
  • Believe in yourself, find your courage.
  • Regardless of the role you are in, or aiming for, the basic principles stay the same.
    • Another Council member felt this is a key takeaway to show her team you can create impact regardless of your role or whether you’re together at the office or on a virtual call.
  • Regarding sponsorship, do not seek it, focus on doing a good job and let it come to you.

This shared experience reminded me of how important purposeful communication can be to uplifting coworkers. Connecting and bonding with people in meaningful ways constitutes the core of my leadership philosophy.

In Gary Myers’ Ted Talk – “How Virtual Leadership is changing the Game,” he says “Leadership is predicated upon the strength of the bonds that you form with the individuals that put their trust in you.”

Remember that leadership is an ongoing journey – whether in-person or through Zoom!

What should your virtual leadership look like?

Related articles:

Oswald Women’s Leadership Council: The Power of Belonging

Women in Insurance: Changing the Landscape of Leadership

Oswald’s Collaborative Culture: Focusing on Inclusion and Commitment to Community

View more from the Women’s Leadership Blog Series.