Source: Medium.com, Toni Moyes, Sept 3, 2018
Royal Reed is a highly respected, award-winning lawyer and businesswoman, the Founder of Prestige Law and a Director of On Being Bold. Looking ahead to the Bold Steps Conference 2018, I asked Royal about her own leadership journey.
Tell me about your journey to Bold Leadership?
I’ve become a leader by accident. I migrated from Taiwan in 1995 and there were many restrictions in my culture and background that meant women were typically not allowed to be leaders. Young women were not encouraged or anticipated to be leaders.
But in New Zealand, people from my community were forced to give me a chance at leadership because I had the English language and legal skills that others didn’t. When I took that opportunity, I came to realise that my presumption that it was better for women not to be leaders was false.
What are some of the beliefs about leadership that you see women struggle with?
One of the most self-limiting stories we tell ourselves is: “I’m not ready yet. If I’m good enough, someone would have come and told me that already. Someone would have come and picked me or promoted me. If I do more preparation, THEN opportunities will come.’’
It doesn’t work like that. You need to actively seek out opportunities. You are not Cinderella waiting for a prince to bring you a shoe. You have to go and buy your own shoes!
Also, lots of women get the message that they are not good enough — too weak, not comprehensive in their background and thinking, lacking the decision-making capacity or the ‘right friends’ to help make an important decision. But our decision-making capacity is just as good. In my experience, my ability to challenge the status quo and bring fresh ideas has been very valuable and often welcomed as refreshing and overdue.
What did you do to get where you are as a leader?
A few years back, I realised that I didn’t want my life to be a revolution. Some of us are better to make baby steps. Every week, I can make a small improvement — for example, in my communication skills or in my ability to be resilient. I like to be in the mode of constantly improving and finding ways to better my chances of feeling confident.
What are some of the messages you’ll be sharing at the Bold Steps conference this year?
I want to recognise that many women who have the ability and talent to make great leaders are not in management positions in big corporates, or not ever intending to head into those roles. They might be younger, in smaller companies, non-profits, education — and these offer just as significant opportunities for leadership.
I’ll be encouraging all women interested in leadership to invest early and plan their professional progression. Just like you might save up every month for your trip to Fiji — you should be doing that for your career.
If you could write a billboard for women forging their own path of Bold Leadership, what would it say?
To hear Royal Reed, alongside Governor General the Rt Hon. Dame Patsy Reddy and 16 of New Zealand’s most senior business leaders, talk more about Bold Leadership, check out the Bold Steps Conference 2018.
By Toni Moyes