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Linkage’s Women in Leadership Institute—Our Largest Ever—Kicks Off | Key Insights from Day 1 of #LinkageWIL 2021

November 2, 2021 Kristen Howe

The Women in Leadership Institute™ is here!  

This afternoon, we kicked off a four-day conference designed by and for women leaders. And, for the first time in its 22-year history, we are meeting both in person in Orlando, Florida, and broadcasting live remotely to women leaders around the world through our virtual platform. 

Here’s why I’m so excited about this year’s Institute: It is the largest attendance in the Institute’s history—2,600 women leaders are joining us on-site or tuning in virtually. That’s huge.

The Women in Leadership Institute has a ripple effect far and wide. After attending, women leaders go back to their work and personal lives energized, inspired—and with new clarity of their superpowers and areas of opportunity.  

The past year and a half have been incredibly tough for all of us, but we know that women leaders have been disproportionately impacted by the effects of the global health crisis. We’ve juggled child and elder care, the stress of living and leading during a pandemic, deep uncertainty and professional challenges. We did all of this—but some of the most difficult of these situations are the ones we chartered alone. When we are isolated, we are missing our spark of inspiration. And to overcome these challenges and to lead others, we all need a community of supporters and champions.

That’s why the Women in Leadership Institute is so powerful. Thousands of women, coming together and lifting each other up. What a week we have in store!  

Be sure to follow along here on the Linkage Leadership Insights blog for coverage from each day of the conference and follow us on social media for in-the-moment insights. 

Shannon Bayer on the “Aware” Competency 

Do you seek and utilize reflective and in-the-moment self-knowledge? Do you recognize the value you bring? 

The “Aware” competency is all about your ability to understand yourself and stay in tune with your value—and your needs. Aware leaders are open-minded in thinking about their capability and potential to achieve. They don’t put limits on what is possible. They know how to best leverage their strengths and compensate for their weaknesses in order to achieve goals. And, they keenly consider the impact their behavior has on others. Because of this, they control and filter their emotions in a constructive manner, empowering others around them to grow in a healthy environment—and letting themselves thrive.

We kicked off the Institute by hearing from Shannon Bayer, Principal Consultant at Linkage, who shared her insights into one of the most prominent hurdles to women’s advancement in the workplace, the “Inner Critic.” This hurdle is especially relevant given today’s stressful environment, which requires us to juggle our home and work responsibilities differently in response to the global health pandemic. 

The Inner Critic is the voice in our head that, when unmanaged, causes us to speak or act in a way that is “one up”—better than others, or “one down”—judgmental of ourselves. These feelings negatively impact our relationships, our brand, our outcomes, even our career aspirations.

Shannon presented these tips for managing your Inner Critic: 

  • It’s up to us to understand what factors in our environment trigger our Inner Critic. When we develop awareness, we can learn to manage the noise in our head that can lead to chaos in our lives. It’s also important to understand the compounding effects of stress on our Inner Critic, and how it exacerbates our triggers. The ongoing pandemic has seen women leaders facing unprecedented stresses—are you giving yourself grace? 
  • What we think and feel drives what we say and do. Leadership begins with us. We must understand ourselves to lead effectively—and to navigate the hurdles that impact us as women leaders. 
  • We can practice returning to Compassionate Center with four simple steps:
        1. Become aware (notice your Inner Critic)
        2. Push pause (stop doing, start thinking)
        3. Be compassionate (be kind to yourself and others)
        4. Get curious (ask yourself: “What’s going on here?”)
  • Do not advocate, make a request, seek to repair or speak until you are back to center.
  • Remember: When we’re “one up,” were giving away our energy. We waste time there, instead of where we need to be. When we’re “one down,” we’re giving away power.

What’s next at the Virtual Women in Leadership Institute? Tomorrow, women leaders in attendance will hear from Magic Johnson on the “Bold” competency and Sheila Lirio Marcelo on the “Clear” competency. We’ll also experience the Intersectionality & Advancement in the Workplace panel. Be sure to continue to follow along here on the Linkage Leadership Insights blog and follow us on social media for in-the-moment insights.

Linkage’s Women in Leadership Institute is taking place November 2–5, 2021. Didn’t get a chance to join us for the live experience? On-Demand passes are now available, giving you on-demand access to the recorded conference from November 10, 2021–January 31, 2022. Learn more about On-Demand passes.

Dark haired woman watches from audience of conference event

Women in Leadership Institute

NOV. 13–16, 2023 | Orlando, Florida, or Virtual
A 4-day immersive learning experience designed to equip women leaders with actionable strategies to overcome the hurdles women often face in the workplace.

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