We recently came across this article by Julia Boorstin about the things she learned while interviewing women for her book, When Women Lead. She shared a few of the top traits she discovered that made women effective and successful business leaders.
One common thread among successful women in business is authenticity. When women are true to themselves, it comes through in everything they do. Women who embrace their strengths and weaknesses and use them to their advantage are those who become the most successful leaders..
Another top trait of successful women is that they rely on data to make hard decisions. These women don’t just go with their gut instinct; they take a step back and look at the facts and figures before making an informed decision. This helps to avoid costly mistakes and ensures that their businesses are run efficiently.
Finally, successful women find purpose in their work. They see their job as more than just a way to make money; they see it as a way to make a difference in the world. This sense of purpose drives these women to achieve great things and helps them stay motivated when times get tough.
Let’s take a deeper look at each of these traits.
Be Authentic to Yourself
Though women have made great strides in the business world over the past few decades, they still face many challenges. One of the biggest obstacles is that they often have to go against their natural character traits in order to be successful leaders.
Many introverted women feel uncomfortable being in the spotlight, and yet they are forced to put on a persona of being assertive and outgoing in order to get ahead. Similarly, many women who are naturally empathetic find it difficult to make tough decisions that may hurt others feelings.
Those who are grateful for what they have can sometimes be too risk-averse when starting or growing their businesses.
On the bright side, these same character traits can actually help women be successful leaders if they learn how to use them correctly.
Julia interviewed Jennifer Holmgren, the CEO of Disruptor 50 company LanzaTech. Boorstin shared that Holmgren is a self-professed introvert who prefers to listen rather than speak, which would generally be a disadvantage to a CEO charged with making changes in her industry. Jennifer managed to make her introversion a superpower. She used her listening skills to figure out what others in negotiation actually wanted and used her empathy for their position to create a compromise that could work for everyone.
Jennifer is a perfect example of using authentic qualities to create a successful business leader.
Rely on Data to Make Tough Decisions
When it comes to being a successful woman in business, humility is key. You have to be willing to put your ego aside and listen to varying opinions if you want to make the best decisions for your company. Relying on data over your initial gut instinct can help you avoid costly mistakes. By looking at the facts and figures, you can make informed decisions that are based on reality rather than personal biases.
Boorstin gave the example of Caryn Seidman, CEO of Clear, pulling the plug on a $24 million marketing plan in 2020 — just before the pandemic hit, and global travel came to a halt. Caryn has used previous and current data to make a solid business decision for her company.
Find Purpose in Your Work, and Focus on It — Especially in Tough Times
Successful women in business often find purpose in their work. These women see their job as more than just a way to make money; they see it as a way to make a difference in the world. This sense of purpose drives them to achieve great things and helps them stay motivated when times get tough.
If you want to be a successful leader in business, you need to find purpose in the work you do. Ask yourself why you started your business in the first place and what you hope to achieve. Once you have a clear goal in mind, focus on achieving it, even if it takes baby steps. Success is not a one-time event; it’s something you have to work for every day. The most successful women keep their goals in sight, celebrate milestone wins big and small, and adjust their course as necessary.
These traits truly define some of the most successful business women we know. We hope you can apply these tips to your own endeavors!
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