Did you know that, as of 2018, 12.3 million businesses in the U.S. are women-owned? That’s roughly 42% or four out of 10 of all companies in the country. Interestingly, these women-led enterprises generate around $1.8 trillion in earnings every year.
Judging by these figures, the current notion that men are better at leadership and women should emulate them is becoming obsolete. Women generally have a distinct leadership style that their male peers can actually learn from.
What leadership lessons can we learn from female CEOs? Let’s spend some time pondering these three:
Know your strengths and limitations.
Women tend to be more self-aware, and they’re usually not prone to bluster. This tendency for self-awareness gives women a deeper insight into their own strengths and limitations. They build on their capabilities and lean on others to make up for their weaknesses.
What does this mean for you? If you want to be a good leader, you need to learn more about yourself. Know the traits that make you strong and acknowledge your weak points. Use your strengths to grow your business and surround yourself with a competent and inspired team to make up for your limitations.
“It’s OK to admit what you don’t know. It’s OK to ask for help. And it’s more than OK to listen to the people you lead.” – Mary Barra, General Motors CEO
Put your team first.
Women are often stereotyped as too compassionate and relationship-oriented to be competent leaders. But the fact is that these traits are now seen as indicators of high emotional intelligence, which in turn has become a desirable trait among leaders.
As mentioned earlier, a woman business leader tends to surround herself with a team to augment what she lacks. But this relationship is rarely one-sided. Female leaders often serve as mentors and cheerleaders to their team. They encourage and empower their team to grow professionally and personally through validation and empathy.
“There is a formula for success in business, and it goes like this: You set out to find the very best talent in the marketplace, and then give them a compelling and inspirational vision of what you want them to achieve for you and the company. Then you empower them to achieve those goals using their own skills and talents in any way they choose.” – Cindy Gallop, advertising trailblazer and CEO of If We Ran the World
Be a transformational leader.
Perhaps one of the best leadership lessons we can learn from a woman CEO is the art of transformational leadership. A transformational leader is someone who leads by example. Their sense of purpose and values inspire their followers to change their own beliefs, bring out their best selves, and positively impact their world. Women CEOs tend to be gifted transformational leaders.
How can you become a transformative leader? It starts with yourself. You need to be a model of integrity and principle. You have to have a clear vision and measurable goals. And you have to win your team’s trust, be ever-reliable, and inspire them to serve the higher good rather than their self-interest.
“Leadership is service to others.” – Denise Morrison, Campbell Soup Co. President and CEO
These are only a few leadership lessons we can learn from women CEOs. Spend some time meditating on these lessons and see how you can apply them to your own business.
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