“For me, one of the key topics is: you don’t need to know it ALL and you shouldn’t need to know it all because you have amazing people in your teams who know a lot and are very capable. So give them room, empower them to be excellent in what they do.
The second thing is focusing on growing talent and yourself. As leaders, we are there to support our people on their growth journey and at the same time ensure that we always keep on learning and seeing, where we have to stretch ourselves.
And I think authenticity and being human as a leader is key. So these would be my three ‘main components’ for a good leader.”
Livia Freudl, Senior Vice President HR at Siemens Healthineers
“Prepare yourself for tomorrow’s digital working world. Accelerate your own digital and data skills and learn how to lead in a digital or hybrid working world, including outcome-based leadership, leading virtual teams, tapping creativity and team spirit through digital channels.
Don’t be too focused on a linear career path. Embrace mobility and diverse development opportunities. I am convinced that tomorrow’s HR leaders will need even more analytical skills and a deep understanding of organizational development. Therefore, try to broaden your horizon with various experiences, this will provide you with even more credibility in your leadership role.
Be confident in your role as leader in HR — you have valuable insights to bring to the table. Your organizational and people knowledge can make a real difference, especially for discussions outside of the HR team. Bringing in your very own perspective and expertise makes up a big part of your value-add in your leadership role.”
Nicole Gerhardt, CHRO and Member of the Executive Board, Telefónica
“Women ARE very good leaders! They only have to believe in their strengths, leverage natural skills such as emotional intelligence, and be less self-critical. I recommend that woman regularly ask for feedback to get a realistic perception of themselves.
Women should remain true to themselves and not try to copy men’s behavior. Instead, they should be very attentive listeners and observers and should learn from effective behavior and integrate it into their own skillset.”
Henriette Albrecht, Head of TMOD, Employer Branding and Recruiting at Vitesco Technologies
“Get in contact with your intuition. It will help you make the right decisions in times of uncertainty. Take full responsibility for your actions. And consider the following tips:
- Think strategically: know what not to do
- Learn from your experiences: today is tomorrow’s yesterday
- Have a strong customer focus: always ask yourself, ‘Who is my customer and would he or she pay for what I do?'”
Diana Patrizia Eid, Vice President HR Strategy & Corporate Functions, DRÄXLMAIER Group
“I am not a proponent of a particular direction that women should take, but on the contrary, recommend finding and cultivating your own leadership style. Authenticity is a very central concept for me in this. It is essential to know yourself well, be aware of your strengths and areas of improvement, and reflect on these regularly to continuously develop your personality.
In s nutshell, women have all the skills it takes to be a good leader. They just may need to “allow” themselves to showcase those skills sometimes. It takes a little courage as a woman to say, “I want to lead” or even “I can lead.” Therefore, having courage, sticking with it even in the face of headwinds and having confidence in your own abilities is something I would like to pass on to all women who have a desire to lead.”
Birgit Horak, Managing Partner at Lurse
“For me, leadership means above all, giving confidence and orientation, inspiring and encouraging others and not discouraging them. These skills apply equally to women and men. To anyone interested in a leadership career, I recommend that you continuously develop these skills. And then to take every opportunity to apply them – whether in a leadership role or in a team role.”
Daniela Fischer, Head of HR, Public Affairs & Corporate Responsibility, AXA
“It is certainly up to us women to advocate for more diversity and to get involved with our female perspective on things. To start with, I recommend a diverse mentoring approach: women should look out for male mentors and vice versa. This will provide a very personal experience that makes the added value of diversity clear and points out existing barriers – a prerequisite to developing a mindset of diversity. To the question of what skills women need to become better leaders I would answer as follows: Trust in your female abilities. We are not “other men” but women. This difference is valuable.”
Julia Bangerth, Chief Operating Officer & CHRO, DATEV
“One tip that I once received myself and that I find incredibly valuable is to ask yourself: “What story do you want people to tell when they get to know me?” And then actively shape this story. Good storytelling skills are, therefore, enormously important to me, as managers have to be able to inspire and engage people.”
Ulrike Potocki, Head of Learning Strategy, Raiffeisen Bank International
“Always believe in yourself and always be yourself. Only with good examples the organization is ready for the change of diverse leadership. Trust in yourself, not doubting about own achievements, being proud of them and talking about the achievements is helping woman to get recognized as a valuable leader.
As for skills, I’d mention: inspiring people, showing empathy, listening actively, being flexible and creative and adapting your communication style to convince different stakeholder groups.”
Katharina Handrich, Leading Talent Acquisition and Talent Advancement for Western Europe, ABB
“Being able to communicate in an inspiring and transparent way is one big asset for me as a leader. Have the big picture in mind and share it! By working remotely, it is even more important to stay very close to your team and to keep it informed on a regular basis.
Being an enabler for great ideas is a also a very important source of leadership excellence: listen to your team, bring different backgrounds, experiences and expertise together and use this swarm intelligence to be innovative. Always remember – the idea itself counts and hierarchy should not play any role. It is your role as a leader to create a frame of creativity and trust in which ideas can grow quickly and pragmatically.
As a leader you should also be a great role model for learning and development – excellence starts with yourself and therefore make sure to stay ahead of your own subject and upcoming HR trends. Stay connected to other HR leaders and experts to learn and grow.”
Kerstin Wagner, Head of Talent Acquisition, Deutsche Bahn
“Trust in your leadership style – radically! Invest time in your own powers. Name them, leverage them!
The point is not to copy strengths of others but to understand your own powers in detail and discuss the possibilities for improvement. Steer your thoughts, ideas, attitude in a positive direction!”
Dr. Ulrike C. Strasser, Advisor, Executive Coach, Lecturer & Author, CROSS-GENERATIONAL
So, what’s next?
The area of women leadership, still needs improvement and development in terms of providing equal professional growth opportunities, compensation strategies, flexibility, and support. However, with the outstanding women in HR leadership who have shared their personal and professional insights for this ebook, and difference they make in their roles – and industries – there’s a big hope that gender parity can be reached not overnight but in the pretty much foreseeable future.
Get your copy and make difference at your organization with these insights and tips.