Leadership Skills for Women

Valerie B. Nixon
Vice President for Administration and Enrollment
Alfred State College
To learn how to avoid unconscious mistakes
that can affect your career
To learn how to recognize and make the right
choices for your career and life
To learn how to build your reputation and
To recognize your strengths and play to them
To provide resources for use throughout your
B.S. in Business Administration
M.P.S. in Community Services Administration
23 years of supervisory experience including
6 years as vice president
Membership, including leadership roles in
many professional and personal
organizations (including SUNYFAP!)
Received many awards and honors
Presented on a variety of topics to various
Avoiding Unconscious
• Be a grown-up!
Overdo it! (to a point)
Don’t put being liked over doing your job
• When your employer hosts a social
gathering don’t forget you are still at
Don’t wait to be taught.
◦ Learn everything you can about your job and
◦ Be invaluable to your supervisor.
◦ Volunteer for things outside your area.
◦ Don’t downplay your ability.
Rely on the experts
◦ Find a mentor, preferably more than one.
Don’t rely only on spell check and grammar
◦ Proofread your e-mail.
◦ Don’t write anything you don’t want shared!
Understand office politics and use it to your
Never underestimate a person’s connections.
Always get back to people.
Use your intuition.
Don’t take things personally and don’t assume you
understand a person’s motivation.
◦ Bend the rules where appropriate.
Office Politics…..
◦ Know your own ethical standards.
 Don’t confuse ethics with preferences.
◦ Always weigh the consequences.
 Is the job more important than the issue?
Make sure you are noticed.
Don’t wait to be recognized.
Don’t be afraid to sing your own praises.
Don’t do the work of others.
Don’t skip breaks or vacations and work late hours
as a rule.
◦ “Acting” is the key word.
◦ Be yourself; you bring a lot to the table!
Don’t act like a girl!
You want folks to see you as a capable leader.
Therefore, don’t:
Decorate your office like a living room
Feed people
Worry too much about offending people
Use a nickname
Pick something you love doing.
◦ You don’t have to graduate in two/four years.
◦ Always assess whether the job or field is right for
◦ What you love may change.
◦ Always have an “escape plan”.
Have a written plan.
◦ A written plan will keep you focused.
◦ Be willing/ready to adjust.
◦ Weigh major decisions against the plan to avoid
impulsive choices.
◦ You can’t “have it all”. To have some things, you
have to give up others.
◦ Go back to your written plan. Does it clearly reflect
your personal AND professional goals?
◦ Be clear on your priorities.
Have interests outside of work.
Join a club
Read, walk, play golf; whatever you enjoy
Make time for yourself
If work is your only interest, you can’t be your
best at your job!
You always have choices!!!
◦ How many and how reasonable depends on how
YOU have planned.
Have you:
◦ Put yourself in a financial bind?
◦ Limited yourself by location, willingness to travel,
type of work you can (and will) do?
◦ Failed to build contacts within and outside the
Or worse! Have you….
◦ Damaged your reputation with those who can
support you?
◦ Stayed “one-dimensional” so that you are viewed as
being skilled in only one area?
The Gender Card:
◦ Are you SURE it’s the reason?
◦ Is it the organization’s culture or the individual?
◦ Is it worth waiting it out?
The bad guys (usually) go away eventually
◦ Can you wait it out?
◦ Don’t make it about YOU!
Act like you’ve been there!
◦ Be prepared!
◦ Plan
◦ Find out what works for you to calm your nerves.
 Deep breathing
 Cut out the caffeine
 Start small and work up
Speak with authority – but know what you’re
talking about.
Practice, practice, practice!
Don’t back down to bullies.
◦ Be professional but be firm.
Envision your success.
underestimate your experience.
minimize your contributions.
always believe others know more than you.
always do the grunt work.
Know what you are good at.
Understand your limitations.
◦ If you can build a skill do it!
◦ If it’s not within your ability, skip it!
◦ If you have to take on a task that you aren’t ready
or able to do, find a partner.
Stay true to yourself.
Build a network of friends, colleagues, and
business associates.
◦ Be there when they need you.
◦ Show them your capabilities.
◦ Ask for help when you need it.
Find someone you admire and listen to their
Attend conferences and workshops that help
you to build skills.
◦ Don’t try to learn it all at once.
Try to learn something from even the worst
“Nice Girls Don’t Get The Corner Office”
◦ By Lois P. Frankel, PhD.
“If My Career’s on the Fast Track, Where Do I Get a Road
◦ By Anne Fisher
“The Female Brain”
◦ By Louann Brizendine, M.D.
Valerie Nixon, Vice President for Administration and
Enrollment Management, Alfred State College
◦ 607-587-3985
◦ [email protected]
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