How did you go about building a strong team at Women in Football?
I didn’t have to build a strong team at Women in Football – people came because they believed in what we were doing. I still find it extraordinary when I see the women who have become involved with the organisation.
We did a women’s leadership course recently, and I looked around the room and thought to myself: “The women in this room could run a football club, there are so many diverse skills at such a high level.”
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given on leadership?
I’ve been given lots of advice but I think the one that is most interesting was at the Women in Football leadership course run by Ebru Koksal. There was an element of the course that was about negotiation, which I’d always seen as being about having a winner and a loser.
Ebru taught me that negotiation was about both people coming away with what they wanted. For the first time, I saw negotiation as key to everything you do, every decision that you make. Negotiation is how you run an organisation, and I thought it was an amazing thing for her to share with us. I think everyone in the room lit up and thought: “Wow, that’s how you lead.”
What qualities make a good leader?
I think for a long time the discussion about good leadership has been stuck in a similar place, particular when discussing female leadership. There is this school of thought that women are holding themselves back and ¬need – to use a football expression – to get into the mixer a bit more.
I read a really interesting article that questioned why we always characterise leadership qualities as male. We talk about being decisive, authoritative and confident. Why don’t we discuss more typically female qualities like emotional intelligence, empathy and collaboration? It’s time we started talking about a different kind of leadership.