We have all heard about great leaders. Great leaders inspire, they cultivate great teams and get the most out of the people they work with. Great women leaders often provide a different skill set than their traditionally male counterparts. While anyone can make a great leader, we examine some of the traits and qualities of great women leaders.
They Accept Advice
Great women leaders often seek out expert advice. This is no coincidence. Women make great leaders because they often possess the ability to check their egos at the door to ensure problems are solved and tasks are completed. They understand when it is best to seek expertise and do not refrain from seeking help.
They Hire Smart
Hiring quality employees is a critical component to building winning teams. Great women leaders see the value in each phase of the hiring process. They embrace different facets of recruiting to ensure the best employees are hired to enable team success. This includes avoiding rushing hiring decisions and pursuing unqualified referrals.
They Cultivate Loyalty Through Rewards
Great women leaders understand that loyalty can be created in many ways. A simple way to cultivate loyalty is to reward and recognize well-performing employees. Further, they also understand that no two employees are the same and that reward and recognition, can and should occur in many different ways.
They Promote Work/Life Balance
Work/Life balance is the act of balancing work with a healthy happy life outside of work. These leaders understand the importance of work/life balance and both the short term and long term effects it can have on their employees and their performance, and ultimately their team’s performance. This understanding creates healthy teams who support one another and build toward success in their jobs.
They Act Like Role Models
Great women leaders understand the impact their work ethic and performance have on their employees. They understand that their actions can set the tone and impact team culture and values. Simple decisions, like responding to emails after hours, working hard to meet a deadline, and conveying visible passion for their jobs, is seen and felt by their staff. These simple acts are replicated throughout their teams and are acted on with careful consideration.
They Create Flexible Workplaces
Women are empathetic to their employee’s needs and situations. This can involve creating flexible workplaces that allow employees to maintain a healthy work/life balance. Women understand that no two employees’ situations may be the same, and creating a winning team can be both a result of, and benefit from providing flexible working situations that can increase employee productivity and happiness.
They Fulfill the Expectations of their Employees
Great women leaders are aware of their teams’ expectations of them, and they deliver. Part of fulfilling expectations is ensuring that expectations are clear, communicated and understood by all team members. Setting clear expectations for leaders, in addition to employees creates a transparent environment where all team members can thrive and determine when their leaders are meeting expectations.
Work Alongside their Teams
Understanding that their role is different from their team members, women ensure they are still active members of the team. This can come in several forms, such as participating in break out sessions, project meetings or phone calls, or take the form of assisting in identifying appropriate resources or assets to complete the tasks at hand.
They Support Career Development
Women make great leaders in part because of their ability to recognize that team members looking to advance their development are also opportunities to develop the team. They often embrace the concept and identify ways for team members to use their new skills in the workplace as well as provide ways to educate other teammates.
They Build Winning Teams
Great women leaders understand that part of their jobs as leaders is to cultivate winning characteristics from their teams. They arrange team-building activities, enable positive environments and set the tone by their actions. Great teams will respond accordingly.
Characteristics of winning teams include:
- Having fun
- Embrace Differences
- Ask each other for help
- Not afraid to fail
- Find opportunities when problems arise
Tips for Being a Great Leader
There are some recurring themes in our list, we break some of them down, in the takeaways below:
Ask Great Questions
“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me?”– Ayn Rand (Author)
It is not a secret – great leaders ask great questions. Leaders often have multiple projects to manage all at once, and your interactions with them are just a small part of that. Leaders have had to learn to make the most out of their time with their teams with they are with them. One of the best ways to do this is to ask great questions. Great questions are not intended to be accusatory or probing, instead, they are opportunities for leaders to understand, optimizing their limited time.
Be Willing to Grow
“I learned to always take on things I’d never done before. Growth and comfort do not coexist.” – Ginni Rometty (President & CEO of IBM)
It is likely a great leader did not become one overnight. What is more likely is as they journeyed through their career, they kept an open mind and seized the presented opportunities to learn new things and expand their skillsets. They didn’t choose to grow for a specific purpose; they grew because it is apart of career progression and they embraced it.
Empower the Team
“Leadership is the ability to guide others without force into a direction or decision that leaves them still feeling empowered and accomplished.” – Lisa Cash Hanson (CEO of Snuggwugg)
If you are looking for a tangible way to determine if a leader is great – look no further than the people that they lead. Their team leads, and other employees who report to them must be productive and able to accomplish the goals at hand. A great leader will empower their teams to make decisions on their own, take initiative and do what it takes to maintain quality output.
Find a Mentor
“Cultivate a network of trusted mentors and colleagues. Other people can give us the best insight into ourselves—and our own limitations. We must have the courage to ask for help and to request feedback to expand our vision of what’s possible.” – Maria Castañón Moats (US Assurance Leader of PwC)
Great leaders frequently have built great relationships along the way. Most great leaders will tell you they sought out the advice of people who had been in their situations and learned from them. Some great leaders will tell you their career was greatly impacted by a mentor, someone who they maintained a relationship with and sought their counsel on a regular basis. Asking for help is often perceived as a sign of weakness, but it is truly a great strength; great leaders know this and use it appropriately.
“Ninety percent of leadership is the ability to communicate something people want.” – Dianne Feinstein (Senior US Senator)
When people think about great communicators, they frequently refer to their writing or presentation skills. While writing and speaking are critical components of effective communication; they are only part of it. Effective communication often is performed through the ‘how.’ How the words are written, or how the speech is told. Great leaders understand their audience, and the methods, including using stories, or analogies, appropriate word choice, and tone, for conveying their messages to the audience.
Quotes courtesy of “50 Inspirational Leadership Quotes From Women.”
This post was written by Maria Gold of Empire Resume