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Women Leaders: Common Challenges That Can Derail Successful Careers

Every incredible journey comes with bumps in the road. Unfortunately, when it comes to long-term career trajectories, those bumps can cause irrevocable damage. Leaders in positions of power are particularly susceptible to business derailers that can stall or kill a career. And as a woman leader, an off-track job can reverse all the hard work it took to get to the top.

In this article, Coach Tee Power walks you through some common leadership tendencies that can be detrimental and how to overcome them.

Poor People Skills

An excellent understanding of people and how they operate is critical to becoming a successful leader. According to the Houston Chronicle, while intelligence, knowledge, and insight can take a leader very far, your work will lack dimension if you don’t know how to deal with people. Working well in a team and balancing weaknesses and strengths within a group of colleagues is a must. Instead of remaining oblivious to what your employees are feeling and thinking, try to come from a place of trust and mutual understanding.

For many women leaders, this can mean letting go of control and trusting your valuable employees. Working on active listening and genuinely trying to understand others’ perspectives will also be helpful. Try to push yourself to collaborate, and encourage working across different teams - this will generate an environment of mutual respect and reciprocity that is essential in any workplace.

Lack of Attention to Detail

Running a business is no small feat - in addition to big picture strategizing, there are also the million administrative tasks that are constantly piling up that need to be dealt with. While mundane, repetitive tasks like legal to-dos and endless paperwork are not glamorous, you need to apply your leadership skills to get them done. Ignoring legal issues particularly can have significant ramifications. According to Harvard Business Review, the best way to stay on top of all your tasks is to delegate to trusted employees or reliable tech resources. There are tools to manage all kinds of details - from invoicing and accounting to budgeting and business formation. For example, the best place to register LLC is by using an online service that helps complete the task quicker and more efficiently.


If there is one trait leaders absolutely cannot afford to adopt is indecisiveness. You have risen to the top of leadership because of your critical thinking abilities and decision-making skills. Nobody likes a fencesitter - so learn to roll with the punches rather than infinitely prolonging important decisions. All organizations value adaptable, flexible leaders rather than those who are change-resistant. However, women leaders usually battle against the common perception that they are more indecisive than their male counterparts. Thus, displaying strength in your convictions rather than nervously failing to make decisions will benefit both your company as well as your reputation.

Lack of Commitment

You can only be a leader as long as you continue to deliver results. However, after many years of being on top, it isn’t uncommon for leaders to lose steam, focus, and drive. A lack of motivation can impact how your employees view you and your bottom line. No matter your competency, popularity, or education, losing commitment can become a significant derailer. An easy solution is to focus on strategy to bring your mojo back up - communicating a vision for the future can be exciting, as can building a team. Once you’re back on track and excited about work, start taking in the full breadth of your leadership responsibilities once again.

While it can be tempting to ignore these common derailers, charging full steam ahead won’t win you any favors. Take the time to focus on your strengths and develop as a leader. Women are often considered empathetic - so use your empathy advantageously, and conquer the business world by anticipating and overcoming issues. You’ve got this!

Sometimes all we need is a little guidance to take the world by storm. Coach Teresa Saffold is here to provide you with the strategy and support to become the best she-preneur possible! Click here to set up an accountability or strategy session!

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