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Duck on the Desert: Embracing Uniqueness in Leadership

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

When speaking to Brenda Jones, an Academic Support Coordinator at a university, on my "Empowering Women in Educational Leadership" September 20th episode, she said that during her journey in school as a first-generation, non-traditional student, she felt like a “Duck on the Desert”. Let me elaborate a bit more.


The desert: an endless stretch of sand, heat, and vastness. Now, imagine a duck in that scenario. It's quite the picture, isn't it? That duck seems out of place, uncertain of its surroundings, and perhaps a tad bit insecure. This is how many women feel when stepping into leadership roles, especially in male-dominated industries. The feeling of being a “duck out of water,” or rather, a “duck on the desert,” can be both daunting and alienating.


The Imposter Syndrome


Imposter syndrome isn't exclusive to women, but many women leaders particularly resonate with this concept. It is the feeling that despite your accomplishments and skills, you're a fraud, and that one day, everyone will 'find out'. This internal narrative can be paralyzing. It can cause women to second-guess their decisions, shy away from opportunities, or undervalue their contributions.


Many women wonder: Do I belong here? Is my voice valid? These feelings can be intensified by external factors – perhaps a stray comment from a colleague or the mere absence of other women at the boardroom table.


Flipping the Script


However, let's circle back to our duck on the desert. At first glance, it seems out of place, but what if this setting highlights its uniqueness? Similarly, a woman in a leadership role can be seen as unique, fresh, and revolutionary. Instead of viewing the scenario as a duck out of place in the desert, we can view it as a duck that brings something new and vital to its environment.


Strength in Difference


The very things that make women feel out of place can be their strengths. Women often bring a different perspective, empathy, resilience, and a collaborative spirit. By feeling like the "duck," they have the opportunity to redefine leadership, introduce new ideas, and foster inclusivity.


Embracing the Desert


Instead of focusing on how out of place they might feel, women leaders can focus on the value they bring. They can turn their imposter syndrome on its head and use it as a reminder that they are unique and offer a different kind of leadership, one that is increasingly recognized as valuable and necessary.


One-of-a-Kind Leadership


A duck in the desert is a sight to behold. It stands out. Similarly, a woman leader can stand out, not because she's a woman, but because of her one-of-a-kind leadership style. By understanding her value, believing in her abilities, and embracing her uniqueness, she can navigate any terrain, be it a lush pond or a vast desert.


In conclusion, while the feeling of being a "duck on the desert" might be overwhelming at first, it's essential to recognize and celebrate the beauty and strength in that uniqueness. By embracing their one-of-a-kind leadership style, women can redefine what leadership looks like, bringing diversity, strength, and change to the forefront.


I encourage you embrace the feeling of being a Duck on the Desert and flip the script. For guidance along your journey, reach out to me for a free consultation at www.drstephanieduguid.com. Find the strength in your difference!


To hear the full radio episode with Brenda Jones, click here: https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/146639/women-in-educational-leadership-removing-barriers









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