A recent report, Tearing Up the Rule Book: A New Generation of Leaders for 2010, from Aspire and Customer Interpreter measures Leadership Intelligence. This measurement assesses what is important today for leadership success. The results of the research are impressive. What has been traditionally classified as more “feminine” traits emerged as the preferable leadership style to take us into the future.
The study, which surveyed 300 global business leaders from 30 countries, cited that,
transformational behaviors such as thinking long term, teamwork, empowerment and effective community, are now highly valued.
This “softer” side of leadership has often been downplayed in the past and even considered detrimental to a woman’s career, and women have struggled with how to adopt the more “male” leadership style of “command and control” in order to be successful in business.
The report states:
Based on the research, the best leaders tend to be female and they tend to improve with age and business or parenting experience.
Isn’t this a breath of fresh air? Women have worked for years to advance their careers in male dominated industries and have met with resistance time and again. We have been told that in order to succeed, we had to be more aggressive and “male” in our approach to management and office politics, and this behavior never felt quite right.
According to the report, a successful leader must:
- have excellent communication skills
- be flexible
- create a vision for their team even if it doesn’t exist at the corporate level
- empower their teams
- operate at the highest integrity
- prioritize their family and personal life
In my recent radio interview with Dede Henley, we also discussed the New Brand of Women Leaders, as those women who are embracing their femininity and using it as part of their leadership strategy.
The shift to embrace more feminine styles of leadership is definitely happening now. Perhaps this shift is due to recent financial and political events. However, the message is clear that it is time for us to connect with, and not deny, our innate qualities of leadership, self confidence and power to not only advance our own careers, but those of our female peers.