top of page

What’s Needed in Women’s Leadership

I recently held one of my Ignite Your Power Women’s Retreats and I came away with even stronger convictions about what’s needed in women’s leadership (and in all leadership) today.

In my retreat, Ignite Your Power, a recurring observation stood out to me. I saw highly successful women who, driven by the fear of jeopardizing their job positions, felt compelled to consistently take on an overwhelming amount of responsibilities at work. This relentless cycle led to them continuing to pile on more and more work until eventually, they burnt themselves out.

It’s not just women either. While I’m focusing on women in this article, these problems are pervasive for anyone in a leadership position.

Many women in leadership roles find themselves just treading water. The perception that there's a limited number of women in leadership positions creates a reluctance to admit when they are struggling, fearing that it may reflect poorly on them.

Thus, there's a tendency for them to shoulder increasing workloads rather than engaging in conversations with their boss about their challenges. Whether it's organizational complexities, internal politics, or ongoing changes, they attempt to deal with the burden on their own, often working beyond their capacity, and hindering their ability to strategically manage the complexities of being a working executive.

While urgency is inherent in organizational demands, some people find themselves working 60 hours a week, taking on every task, convinced that certain things won't be accomplished unless they do it themselves. The illusion of everything being under control shatters once they burnout or start noticing problems with their personal life. Because no one talks about it, this issue turns into a silent killer of employee retention and engagement.


Nobody believes they are going to wake up one day and be so burnt out that they quit their job. However, that’s exactly what happens.

Consequently, capable and talented women end up leaving great jobs, unable to express their needs due to their perception that it implies they are inadequate.

In today's competitive job market, companies are increasingly recognizing the importance of prioritizing a better quality of life for their employees. This shift in focus is not just a workplace trend but a strategic approach to attract and retain top talent. Companies that weave quality of life into their recruiting strategies are finding success in both retaining their employees and limiting burnout.

A Paradigm Shift in Attracting Talent

One of the pioneers in this paradigm shift is Google. The tech giant has set the standard for promoting a positive work-life balance. Offering flexible work hours, on-site amenities, and various wellness programs, Google has demonstrated that employee satisfaction and productivity go hand in hand with a high quality of life.

Salesforce and Microsoft have also embraced hiring strategies that revolve around quality of life. These companies provide comprehensive wellness programs, mental health resources, and family-friendly policies. Flexible work arrangements and a commitment to employee development contribute to creating an environment where individuals can thrive both personally and professionally.

As remote work becomes more prevalent, companies like Zoom Video Communications have adapted their employee retention strategies to focus on supporting a healthy work-life integration. Offering flexibility and acknowledging the importance of employee well-being, Zoom has become a beacon for those seeking a balance between professional and personal life.

Companies like Spotify and Cisco emphasize the human element in their hiring and retention strategies. Flexible work schedules, generous time-off policies, and a commitment to inclusivity contribute to creating positive workplace cultures. These companies understand that investing in the well-being of their employees is an investment in their overall success.

The shift towards prioritizing a better quality of life is proving to be a win-win for both employers and employees. By creating environments that support work-life balance, mental health, and overall well-being, companies are not only attracting top talent but also fostering a positive workplace culture that leads to increased productivity, job satisfaction, and employee retention. As the job market continues to evolve, the emphasis on quality of life is likely to remain a key differentiator for companies seeking to build and maintain high-performing teams.

Happiness and Fulfillment


Another thing I took away from Ignite Your Power is that every single person wants to be happy and has a deep desire to contribute. However, almost no one takes time to intentionally think about what’s important to them in their career. 


The way to prevent burnout is beginning with the end in mind. What is your purpose? What is the ultimate contribution you want to make in your career and your life?

There is usually a desire to connect to something bigger than just making money. People want to be making an overall contribution to their company and the world.


When you have a vision for where you’re going, it’s much easier to say “Yes, that makes sense and I’m going to do that.” or “No, that doesn’t make sense.” Being curious, and inquiring into these matters of fulfillment enables you to define what needs to get done and what to say yes to. It can also allow you to more effectively delegate. Maybe you[1]  don’t have to do it, but your department needs to. If you’re focused on achieving the end result, you may be more inspired to allow other people to take on responsibility in order to reach that end goal.


Then, even if you wake up one day and realize you’ve said yes to too many things and haven’t gotten multiple tasks done, you can now look at what you can delegate. Who would be good at this? Who has an interest?

Part of why people hesitate to do that is because they are nervous about letting go of responsibility. They fear becoming irrelevant or being perceived as avoiding responsibility, even though they would be doing the exact opposite by delegating and elevating the people around them. This is especially prevalent if they have a deep seated perception that there’s not enough leadership roles to go around.


Most people are unaware they are holding on so tight because of this perception. They don’t make it their business to elevate others because the thought doesn’t even occur to them. They just believe that if they don’t do a task, then nobody else will.


Most of the women leaders that come to Ignite Your Power don’t know, and are unaware that they don’t know, that they are operating at the level of Frustration at least 40% of the time. This means their body is under duress and they’re agitated, upset, and impatient.


They aren’t flowing free and easy in their work and are instead harshly navigating through the day. They aren’t thinking clearly and thus their decision-making suffers. They are less patient with their coworkers and are in a constant state of irritation, anxiety, or fear. Because of all this, they reach a state of burnout much more easily.



People almost never take time to do self-reflection unless it's part of a retreat. Most leaders adopt an attitude of waiting to take care of themselves until the weekend. They don’t develop the necessary habits of self care (eating right, sleeping, exercising, etc.), self regulation, learning, and navigating stress. For example, some people work so hard that they don’t bother eating, then later wonder why they can’t remember things. The self is not a conscious priority for many leaders. Many people think it’s selfish to take care of themselves, so it ends up being their last priority.


When individuals start looking and connecting to their highest contribution that they want to make, it’s easier for them to identify and let go of their controlling, hyper-vigilant, and “I must perform” patterns that get in the way of leading and developing others.


If someone is connected to their highest purpose and values, it gives their life meaning, which gives their work meaning. When people see how much more they can be and how much more they can contribute, they stop all this protecting and allow themselves to be vulnerable. They delegate and discuss their issues with their boss, fellow leadership[2] , colleagues, and staff. They swim towards the goal, rather than just treading water.


When a person lets go of surviving, what’s possible is thriving.



To your growth,





P.S. If you want to learn more about the state of your organizational culture and if the leaders in your company are dealing with these problems, check out our Free Organizational Culture Assessment. It provides guidance on the environment, architecture, and intent of your organization and where there might be breakdowns causing problems for both leaders and the collective[3] .


P.P.S. if you or someone you know would find benefit from attending the next Ignite power women’s leadership retreat, it’s happening in September 2024. Check it out here.


bottom of page