Women comprise half of the managerial and specialized roles in organizations in the United States. Given this statistic, the ratio of women in senior leadership roles is not comparable. There are women who are successful entrepreneurs and leaders and there is an increasing trend in this area. However this trend is disturbingly sluggish.
This generates interest in the qualities, which define successful women entrepreneurs and which other aspiring candidates can emulate, to become successful role models themselves. Do women not have the traits that make successful corporate or business leaders? Or do they not have the access to opportunities to attain this success? As to those women who are successful, what is it that contributed to their success? Those who are not, what stopped them from achieving their potential?
There is a lot of recent research and studies conducted by organizations and educational institutions, which have yielded interesting results. They clearly indicate that women not only possess equal leadership skills to men, in some areas men can constructively learn a few things from these women. This shows that the gender norms, which are prevalent in organizations, may be one reason why women do not reach leadership roles in order to exhibit their leadership skills.
What are the traits, which are commonly seen in successful women entrepreneurs?
1. A higher sense of empathy and persuasive motivation. This helps women look for, see, more willing to listen and understand concerns of the other party thereby helping them understand and solve these issues faster and more effectively. This ability to view situations from all angles helps them in taking along people as part of the team and ensuring better involvement.
2. Hardiness in the face of rejection and then using it as a fuel to come back more aggressively to win on the task ‘to show you' that they can and will surmount any obstacle and succeed at any task. Where there is skill fuelled by ambition, no rejection or signs of it can deter women from their goal.
3. An inclusive leader style which means that they share decision points, seek opinions, listen to them, accept ideas and arrive at a decision which incorporates the best aspects of all ideas of the team. This style also ensures that they buy in a stronger level of commitment as well as motivation and better morale in the team.
4. Strength to take on risks and develop ingenious ways of tackling and solving problems. Women take on the risk of going wrong sometimes in order to break existing paradigms and find path-breaking answers.
Most successful women entrepreneurs show a leadership style built on:
- Recognizing and taking advantage of their strengths, in traditional and other ways, towards the achievement of their goal.
- Knowing what keeps you involved and motivated and ensuring that you don't lose that fuelling enthusiasm.
- Seeing the positives in all situations, understanding what happened, learning and moving on with more energy and focus towards their goal.
- Building on social strength and relationships, considering the human aspect of business as key and also having a set of advisors from whom they seek help without inhibition. Business is seen as a 'living organism'.
- Accepting opportunities and the risks they carry as enablers to success and nurturing their individuality along with it.
Entrepreneurial traits for success are present in both genders, but the way women move towards success is different from their male counterparts. In today's world of equal opportunities and achievements, women are increasingly finding their pride of place in the hitherto male-dominated area of entrepreneurship and motivating many others to follow in their footsteps.