WomanUp inspires growth, professional and personal

August 15, 2018

Swiss psychologist Carl Jung once said that we meet our destiny on the road we take to avoid it– and that only by leaning into our own discomforts can we make the most of our strengths. Luckily, with the guidance of Dr. Will Sparks and leadership of coach Rebekah Lowe, nearly 350 WomanUP professionals were able to dive into their discomforts and discover truths about their leadership styles and those of their peers.

“If you don’t manage and process your leadership strengths and weaknesses, they will manage and process you,” said Dr. Sparks, who serves as the Chair and Professor of Leadership at Queens University of Charlotte. “The first step is to know your leadership style.”

“When I first took this assessment years ago, I realized I wasn’t anywhere close to being self-actualized,” said Lowe. “This assessment inspired me to chase new goals and discover my untapped potential. I have grown so much.”

Through a round-table discussion and presentation, Sparks and Lowe taught attendees about the three leadership styles from Sparks’ upcoming book “Actualized Leadership: Meeting Your Shadow & Maximizing Your Potential.” Sparks contends that people are asserters, affirmers, or achievers, and that they are respectively motivated by achievement, affiliation, or power. Attendees took an Actualized Leadership Profile assessment that helped them figure out which profile fit them best. Sparks believes that simply becoming more aware of the different leadership styles is a huge first step in overcoming personal challenges.

Exploring each leadership style

“At their best, achievers are detail-oriented, thorough, and focused,” explained Sparks. “Un-actualized, they struggle with a fear of failure, narrow-mindedness, and obsession.”

“Affirmers are most focused on relationships and at their best display empathy, loyalty, and generosity. A fear of rejection can trigger more negative qualities like anxiety, jealousy, and indecisiveness.”

“Asserters are most focused on power and can be candid, decisive, rational, and strategic. Their fear of betrayal can unlock more controlling, arrogant, and condescending tendencies,” he said.

By understanding these environmental triggers, we can act less emotionally and more responsibly. We can practice better self-care towards ourselves and more empathy towards our friends, managers, and colleagues. The assessment provides us with a roadmap of both where we are, and where we’re capable of being.

Experiences from attendees

Those in attendance found the event extremely valuable, and shared the following comments from their experience:

“This workshop allowed me to realize my weaknesses and how to handle them. Also helped me get to know my co-workers better.”

“The information we gather can really help us live a more valuable and productive life, in work and personal.”

“I love meeting and being inspired by strong, passionate, talented women.”

“WomanUP is a collaborative force of Asheville and western North Carolina women who create a safe space for empowerment and self realization”

Up next, WomanUP Celebration in November

Save the date for our WomanUP celebration on November 8th, featuring keynote by futurist Rebecca Ryan and honoring outstanding women in business. We are also accepting nominations until October 12th for the following awards: Women Entrepreneurs, Best in Business, Woman Executive of the Year, Outstanding Woman Nonprofit Leader, and the Rising Star Award.

P.S: To see more event photos, check out the album here.