A couple of days ago I had the pleasure of listening to Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock speak at the Identity, Impact & Voice Day on Leadership Foundation Aurora Women only Leadership Programme. Maggie is an English space scientist, and co-presenter of the astronomy TV programme The Sky at Night.
She delivered an inspiring talk, which was so persuasive that I believe if she had asked who wanted to be signed up for a degree in physics at the event of the talk, all 200 women in the audience would have said yes.
Amongst the many insights she provided into her career, she expressed her initial discomfort at being called a role model. She questioned how someone with her imperfections, such as dyslexia and all the challenges of being a busy working mum, could be a role model to anyone.
Her conclusion, which I very much agree with, is that you can role model your strengths, while still having your weaknesses.
I believe that if more women felt like this we wouldn’t be talking about the lack of role models, instead we’d be stepping up into being them ourselves. But what does it take to be a good role model? Here are my top 3 qualities:
1. Passion and power to inspire
You don’t have to feel that you are an inspirational person, but if others say that your story inspires them and your passion is infectious, then you are a role model. After all, their perception is reality.
2. Ability to admit your flaws and mistakes as well as successes
No one is seeking perfect, those who seem perfect can’t be role models, because the distance between them and us is too vast. We like to connect with those who are flawed and human, just as we are.
3. A clear set of values
Someone who is clear about their values and lives by them is a good role model. They align what they do with what they believe is important in life, and as a result we feel we can trust them.
Do you have these 3 qualities? If so, please do own the title of role model today.
Perhaps you still don’t think you have these qualities yet, the facilitator of the day Phyllida Hancock made a valuable point, it’s not enough to have role models, it’s important to make steps to be like them also. So, when you have made the steps, you can join the ranks of role models too.