Breaking Down Barriers: How to Overcome Kryptonite as a Woman Leader

By Stacy Brookman, Leadership and Resilience Coach.

As a woman in leadership, you’ve probably experienced moments where you’ve felt like you’re not good enough or that you’re not doing enough. This is especially true if you’ve previously been in a codependent relationship.  You’ve probably also felt like you need to be tough, perfect, and sacrifice your personal life to succeed. 

But the truth is, these beliefs are nothing more than kryptonite that hold you back from reaching your full potential as a leader. Let’s  explore the five types of kryptonite that can affect women leaders and provide strategies for overcoming them.

The Need to be Tough:

As a woman leader, you may feel pressure to be tough all the time. But what does that really mean? Does it mean being unapproachable or inflexible? Does it mean hiding your emotions or not showing vulnerability? The truth is, being tough is often misunderstood. It’s not about being unfeeling or unapproachable; it’s about having the strength to handle difficult situations and make tough decisions.

However, constantly being tough can take a toll on your mental and emotional health. It can lead to burnout, stress, and an inability to connect with others. It’s important to find a balance between being tough and showing vulnerability. One way to do this is by surrounding yourself with supportive colleagues who you can confide in and seek advice from.

The Need to Do Everything Myself:

Having experience with codependency, you’re used to not asking for help and doing so many things for others. In fact, you may feel like you need to do everything yourself to prove yourself. But the reality is, no one can do everything alone. Delegating tasks and building a team is a crucial part of leadership.

Delegating tasks not only allows you to focus on your strengths but also empowers your team members to take ownership of their work. It’s important to trust your team members and give them the support and resources they need to succeed.

The Need to Be Perfect:

Perfectionism can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it can drive you to strive for excellence and achieve great things. On the other hand, it can lead to unrealistic expectations and a fear of failure.

It’s important to recognize that perfectionism is often rooted in fear – fear of failure, fear of criticism, or fear of not being good enough. To overcome the need for perfection, it’s important to reframe failure as a learning opportunity and to focus on progress rather than perfection. Celebrate your successes and learn from your mistakes.

The Belief That I Have to Sacrifice My Personal Life:

Many women in leadership believe that sacrificing their personal life is necessary for professional success. But the truth is, neglecting your personal life can lead to burnout and a lack of fulfillment.

It’s important to find a balance between your personal and professional life. This could mean setting boundaries, taking breaks, and prioritizing self-care. Remember that taking care of yourself is not a luxury, but a necessity.

The Belief That I Must Be a Lone Wolf:

The myth of the lone wolf leader is pervasive in our culture. We’re often told that leadership is a solo journey and that we must do everything alone. But the truth is, collaboration and support are essential to success.

Building a support system of colleagues, mentors, and friends can help you navigate challenges and provide a sounding board for ideas. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice when you need it.


As a woman leader, it’s important to recognize the types of kryptonite that can hold you back and develop strategies to overcome them. Balancing toughness and vulnerability, delegating tasks, reframing failure, prioritizing self-care, and building a support system are all important steps in overcoming these obstacles. 

Remember, leadership is not a solo journey – it’s a collective effort. By working together and supporting one another, we can break down the barriers that have held us back and create a more equitable and inclusive future for all.

As you continue on your leadership journey, remember to be kind to yourself and to others. We are all human, and we all have strengths and weaknesses. Embrace your imperfections and learn from your mistakes. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to reach out for help or support when you need it.

Remember, leadership is not about being perfect, it’s about being authentic, empathetic, and resilient.

Women leaders who want to eliminate imposter syndrome leverage Stacy Brookman and her confident leadership coaching to clarify their power skills and confidently command their seat at the table. She’s a women’s leadership coach, a conference speaker, and the founder of Real Life Resilience. Get her “What’s Your Leadership Kryptonite?” quiz here:

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