Great leaders come in all forms, but most employees can agree that organization, decisiveness, and honesty are key factors in determining what makes a capable leader. These are the same characteristics that make women in leadership roles successful.
For female leaders in particular, there’s an even deeper layer of skill required to guide a workforce in an age when many women haven’t been given the opportunity to do so. By embracing their unique leadership potential, women can blaze a path to the top of the corporate ladder, and those who have already made it have demonstrated how important female leadership can be to an organization.
For example, compassion is a notable characteristic among women in leadership, and two-thirds of adults agree that being compassionate better describes women than men. Employers are prone to believe that pressure helps their employees thrive, but current research has shown it has the exact opposite effect. Women in leadership roles understand that making the workplace feel safe is critical to success, and that empathy can influence their negotiation style as well.
Innovation and creativity have also been found to be dominant traits in female leaders, and are qualities they also encourage in their teams. Women are more prone to thinking holistically, which means they go beyond just the numbers and data to identify opportunities that would otherwise be overlooked. It’s also not surprising that women do a better job of understanding the female consumer. According to the Harvard Business Review, companies that target women consumers see their likelihood of success increase by 144 percent when women take an active role.
As many long-standing companies seek to streamline their operations and remove deeply ingrained silos, collaborative skills have also become highly valuable in management. Female leaders are able to use their emotional sensitivity and communicative strengths to bring teams together and facilitate an open exchange of ideas. Through collaboration, companies are better able to utilize the full potential of their employees, and female leaders have proven to be especially adept at achieving this.
While there’s no denying that all of these female leadership traits can greatly benefit a workforce, which leadership traits mean more to employees can vary across gender lines. According to Pew Research Center, 66 percent of women say that being compassionate is critical to being a successful leader, while only 47 percent of men agree. And 61 percent of women consider innovation to be a leadership requirement, while just 51 percent of men said the same.
Regardless of these differences, women in leadership roles are proving themselves to be uniquely qualified for piloting their companies’ workforces and strategies. How female leadership will continue to evolve as more women rise the ranks and break down barriers is the next big question for companies seeking to gain an edge over the competition.
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