May 24 2013
The qualities that distinguish women leaders

By Susan Croft, international women's advocate and leader of the Centre's Women in management and leadership training course.

Women leaders are more assertive and persuasive, have a stronger need to get things done and are more willing to take risks than male leaders, according to a new study conducted by Caliper, a US based management consulting firm, together with UK-based Aspire.

The firms assessed the potential of more than 2 million applicants and employees for over 25,000 companies around the world.  Women leaders were also found to be more empathetic and flexible, as well as stronger in interpersonal skills than their male counterparts.

These are the four key qualities that distinguish women leaders:

They are more persuasive than their male counterparts
The strong interpersonal skills women possess enable them to read situations accurately and take in information from all sides. This willingness to see all sides of a situation enhances their persuasive abilities.

Able to deal with rejection, set-backs and adversity with an ‘I'll show you' attitude
Women leaders will feel the sting of rejection and set-backs but will then muster their assertiveness and shake off any negative feeling.

Inclusive, team-building leadership style of problem solving and decision making
The women leaders in the study were more interested in hearing all points of view and then making the best possible decision. The final decision did not necessarily have to be their initial point of view.

More likely to ignore rules and take risks
Women leaders are more likely to push back when they are overly bound by regulations and rules, engage in more risk taking and come up with innovative solutions.

"We're looking at a different paradigm of leadership, and it plays naturally to the strengths of women" says Regina Sacha, Vice President of Human Resources for FedEx. "The tide has turned. The leadership skills that come naturally to women are now absolutely necessary for companies to continue to thrive. It certainly is the reverse of how it was when I first started out in the workplace. It seems like poetic justice."

In my forthcoming training session I will be discussing these qualities and sharing many tips for women, including: developing your leadership profile, skills to help you communicate more effectively with alpha males and ensuring you get your voice heard in the workplace. View the course page, contact the Centre on 020 7490 3030 or email to book your place. I look forward to seeing you there!

Susan Croft is an international public speaker, corporate trainer and PR practitioner and trains in sales, communications, marketing and management.

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