When the first generation of women entered the workforce in earnest in the 1970s, they succeeded in the only way they could – by imitating men. Authoritarian leadership and tight control was the hallmark of that day’s businessman, and women were not exactly welcomed into the management ranks. Well, ladies, that was yesterday, and today is today!
Forget what your mama or boss told you because following the rules can be bad for your career. Today’s CEO/entrepreneur can no longer tap their company’s full potential using a “command-and-control” style. The 21st-century businesswoman needs to be able to build a vision based on the awareness of economic transformation, then help her partners and staff fulfill that vision. She must draw on many skills to stay at the top.
The following are 7 Key Essential Characteristics:
1. Sell the Vision: A leader with a new, independent plan for her company’s growth and future has a distinct advantage in luring and keeping great talent and investors. Vision is not some lofty ideal but an available concept that is easy to understand and will make the company grow to another level.
2. Reinvent the Rules: While women have traditionally been socialized to please others, the 21st-century leader knows that good girl rarely post great returns. The firm managers/owners today anticipate change and create entirely new organizations that respond to shifts and search for innovation.
3. Achieve With A Laser Focus: Go where others fear to tread! Being aggressive and ambitious has long been considered male traits, but they are vital qualities for new leaders. Today’s businesswoman can home in on opportunities that others may not see and then excel in that uncharted territory.
4. Use High-Touch in a High-Tech Era: When several leaders are conducting business by e-mail, voice mail, passwords, and PINs, the female entrepreneur succeeds because she guides with a firm, personal, bedside manner. Today’s businesswoman is just as technologically savvy as her peers, but her skill with staff and customers is “high-touch,” giving her a critical edge and separation from the “pack.”
5. Challenge or Opportunity? – Women are great at turning a challenge into an opportunity instead of using the “slash-and-burn” approach. They can make bold strokes, but they also win the cooperation of others in the organization in making any transformation a success.
6. A Customer Preference Obsession: In this information age which makes it easier to shop around for the best “whatever,” businesses must work harder to give people what they want before their competitors do. There is no substitute for spending time with clients to become experts at their businesses and learn their demands. Female leaders are almost intuitively adept in doing just that without the client even suspecting.
7. Courage Under Fire: Show me any career woman or female entrepreneur today who can’t “stand the heat” in any tough-call situation. Their decision-making skills are rooted in high confidence because they’ve had to weather and surpass any “corporate” storms they’ve encountered over time.
It takes a particular mindset and bravado for anyone to start their own business and succeed, but it’s even more difficult for a female entrepreneur. Let’s face it, ladies! We’ve always had to be twice as intelligent and twice as confident as any male counterpart in the corporate world. After all, if we can bear and raise the future generation, how can running a successful business scare us?
Photo Credit: Envato under license.