4 Common Traits of Women Leaders

I’ve spent some time in the past few days trolling blog…er…um..doing research.  Turns out you can spend a lot of time looking for good blogs.  There is lots of content out there, but not as much good reading as I hoped.  I did find some good blogs that I’ll share with all of you in the next few days and weeks.

I was in a leadership retreat sponsored by the Society of Women Engineers today.  Since I’m in the leadership mood, I thought I’d check out the Future Women Leaders Blog.  The current post is about 4 common traits of women leaders.  Leaders who motivate others and empower them.

I was curious, are these traits that I have?

  • Goal- Orientation- This once I’ve got.  I set short term and long term goals for my team at work and the groups outside of work I lead.  I’ve been goal oriented since as long as I remember.  My sisters might say it made me bossy.  I argue that I had a vision for what we should spend our afternoon, summer, etc doing and I worked with them to make it happen.
  • Effective Communication- The more I work, the more I realize that success is weighed very heavily on how well you can communicate.  You can be a brilliant engineer.  If you can’t communicate well to different types of people at various levels of management and expertise, your only hope is to find an effective communicator who can translate your thoughts out to the world.  I am an effective communicator, but I’m also always looking for ways to improve.  I watch to see how other effective communicators alter their words around various audiences, and how they phrase their emails for the best readability and influence.  I think I also pay more attention to nonverbal gestures and the feelings and reactions of those people around me than most others I work with.
  • High Emotional Intelligence- EI is the ability to identify, assess, and manage your own emotions and the emotions of a group.  It’s about remaining calm and collected in a crisis and also not allowing any self-defeating feelings to affect you.  I am pretty laid back and from growing up in a big family and learning from my mom not to let things affect me.  I do believe that being optimistic is very important in leading.  When things get rough, you need to stay above it, smile, and encourage the rest of the team to focus on making the changes to get to the goal, not dwelling in everything that is going wrong.  It’s tough, but it always works.
  • Ability to Delegate-This one is probably the weakest of the four areas for me, only because it’s one I’m still learning to do well.  In some areas, I delegate well.  I think back to my wedding.  I chose great vendors who I trusted, I explained my vision to them, and then just let them go execute it.  It worked wonderfully.  Not very many times in life do you get to pick your team like that.  I am still finding that balance of delegating with team members where we haven’t worked out the trust and expertise yet.  I’m also learning how much effective communication matters in being able to delegate well.  You have to be very clear in communicating your vision and expectations.  If not, then I notice I see someone headed the wrong way and jump into more of a micro-managing mode.  I agree it’s a trait of good leaders, it’s one I probably do well 60% of the time.  I’ll keep working on growing that percentage.

Overall, not too bad for my leadership assessment. There are a lot of leadership assessments out there.  It’s nice when someone narrows it down to just a few characteristics, like this list.  The simplicity reminds me that it takes only a few things to make you a good leader, yet those are not  simple traits to master- you can continuously work on improving them for years.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Thanks for the link to the Future Women Leaders blog!!!
    Very inspiring!

    Reply

  2. Emotional intelligence is something I really need to work on.. and thats just a starting point!

    Reply

  3. Posted by Deb on March 3, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    I find that delegation is one of the hardest things for upcoming leaders to master. The first 3 items tend to be inherent in people; yes, they can be learned but after years of watching people develop leadership skills, I more often than not see these traits show up naturally in people.

    But delegation is something you have to learn. And it’s definitely made harder when the people above you struggle with delegation because they project their own micro-management tendencies into their expectations of you.

    thanks for the post – it’s a great list!

    Reply

  4. Posted by kiki on September 20, 2010 at 11:35 am

    I think all four of these can be difficult for different people. Having 2 or 3 of the qualities could make you a leader but having all four is the combination that leads to effective leadership. I do believe all of these traits can be honed and developed over time.

    Reply

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