I asked my brother how he would describe a leader, “Tough. Boss. Influential. Superman.” he responded. “Superman?”, I asked my brother. “Yes, when I think of a leader, I think of Superman,” he replied. Well, I am no Superman. Women have fought hard throughout the years to show the world that they too, can be the leaders of the future. From the first shouts at the Seneca Falls Convention to inaugurating the first female Vice President of the United States, women have come a long way, but not without sacrifice and determination. As a little girl I thought to myself, how can a girl like me, with no muscles, superpowers, or fancy costumes, become Superman?
When I first began dipping my toes in leadership, I was frightened. Whether it was president of student council, captain of my robotics team, or teaching Sunday school, I didn’t know the right approach, methodology, or format to use in order to be the leader that my classmates, teammates, brothers, and sisters in Christ deserve.
My first year as captain of my robotics team was an eye-opening experience. I was at a crossroads between being the tough, bossy leader people in a male-dominated field were used to and being myself. Women think they need to decide between being themselves and masking their feminine qualities to succeed in school and the workforce. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. It wasn’t until I became open and honest with my mostly male teammates that I helped lead them toward success.
The best leadership advice I have received is to not let yourself be consumed by the role. Do not change in order to fit the leader ‘mold’, rather make the role your own.
As a leader, I strived to be a helping hand in whatever aspect they needed. Whether it was fixing wires, soldering some robot parts together, or just listening to their ideas, I wanted to be seen as reliable.
Furthermore, I wanted my femininity to shine through and help make the team more into a family. I held get-togethers, decorated our robotics lab, and made sure everyone’s voices and feelings were heard. As a leader, I blended my integrity, work ethic, and communication skills along with the nurturing, gentle, and empathetic aspects of my femininity.
Some of the leaders I look up to do not see their roles as mothers and women as a disadvantage, but rather an asset, such as Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett who stood proudly in front of Congress and did not apologize for her beliefs, values, and morals as a woman, a mother, and a leader.
While my new approach to leadership in a male-dominated field and team eventually became successful, some male members on my team took my qualities as a sign of weakness. There were times when I was not taken seriously. However, with diligence and not being afraid to stand up for myself and my values, my team learned to respect and work with me.
Being a leader comes with its challenges. Whenever the weight of the world is on my shoulders, I remind myself that I am setting an example for other girls. I was once that little first-generation girl who wanted to make her parents and community proud. I have now grown into a strong leader who can show other little girls it is possible to succeed without straying away from their true selves. Leaders are not just people like Superman, they also include wives, mothers, church representatives, and myself.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.