It’s practically a given that male leaders will be assertive, authoritative and competitive. Women leaders, however, bring a whole new set of qualities to the table. Albeit lesser known, these unique strengths can add great value to business. Here are the 10 top traits of women leaders, and why they are so valuable:
It probably comes from being expected to perform multiple roles at home but women leaders can attend to numerous fronts with ease. “Women are master multitaskers,” says Alisha Malik, VP, Digital, Metro Shoes Ltd. Multitaskers can better handle multiple projects, multiple teams, etc.
Women are natural sharers, and hence make great team-players and motivators. While men are more likely to describe their leadership style as transactional, involving a series of rewarding and punishing transactions with their subordinates, women are more likely to adopt a transformational style. Women seek to transform their subordinates own self-interest into the interest of the group through concern for a broader goal, explains Judy B. Rosener of the University of California.
Women are more conservative than men in spending and hiring, according to Kanika Tekriwal, co-founder and CEO of JetSetGo, an online marketplace for private jets and helicopters. Women can stretch money further and allocate capital wisely, which bodes well for the financial health of companies. Behavioral analysts say this is because women tend to think about the long-term while men focus on the short-term.
Malik likens women leaders to scientists. “Many of them want to make new discoveries or solve problems where others have failed; and they don’t shy away from trial and error as long as they are making headway,” she says. Essentially, women have greater staying power, and will pursue a job until completion.
Call women cautious but it is a fact that they don’t jump into things blindly. This is a great trait to have in business. “Collecting and evaluating facts makes for better business decisions even if it takes time,” opines Malik.
Women leaders score higher on instinct and in picking up nonverbal cues. They are more self-aware and socially aware, and better able to feel people’s emotions.
Women are also more willing to rely on their gut feeling in ambiguous situations, says Tekriwal. This ability can be very useful when you’re charting new territory as start-ups in new sectors must do.
7. Women Leaders – Long-term planners:
Women not only think long-term but can also foresee situations better than men. What is more, they prefer to plan for circumstances in advance instead of leaving everything to the last minute, according to Tekriwal.
Women by default have a stronger focus on people, and value building relationships and a community. Women are also more empathetic and inclusive, says Sarika Bhattacharyya, co-founder and director, Biz Divas, a platform for women leaders.
Inclusivity allows women to engage all sorts of people, leverage talent, hold teams together and carry everyone along making every individual feel special and equally important, says Tekriwal. Nurturing relationships also goes a long way toward boosting sales as well.
Women place a premium on making a positive impact through their work, according to Bhattacharyya. This leads them to practice business ethics and preserve their integrity.
Women in business still get fewer opportunities but when they do get a break, they take their commitments more seriously. “Women are more likely to deliver on time,” believes Tekriwal.