Leaders are often made, not born. People become successful because of the thoughts they think, the things they do, the habits they cultivate, and the traits they possess.
Achieving success is a long and hard road for most of us, regardless of our gender. There's also nothing in particular that women need to do differently in order to succeed in the business world. But there certainly is a lot that is inherently different in women than man. We realize this could be dangerous territory seeing as we are going into generalizations, but that is only to make a point.
Many how-to success and leadership books approach the topic from the male point of view. But women just happen to think differently than men. They also happen to have certain traits that can get in their way if they were to take the advice in these leadership books literally. Hence, it is quite pertinent to look at the issue of success from the female point of view.
And what exactly would a female point of view be?
It would be simply to look at certain female traits that most women possess and which can also work heavily in their favor if they were to put their minds to running a business. We advocate that women with entrepreneurial leanings make the most of these innate traits.
Women are good multitaskersThis might sound like a stereotype doing the rounds but it does have some scientific backing. Research carried out in the UK in 2010 (a bit dated, but hey) found women to be better at handling multiple tasks at the same time than men.
We aren't going into the science behind it but will definitely say that being able to multitask is good news. With your juggling abilities you should be able to check email, answer phone calls, and print out documents, and travelling for business trips all at once.
That, by the way, is just one example. The idea here is to make the most of your abilities to optimize your time. And just for the record, we would never recommend multitasking when doing anything that requires a high degree of concentration. But as things stand, not many things that we typically do in a day require a lot of attention. With low-demanding activities as the ones described above, multitasking can be an excellent time-saving strategy.
Women are naturally empatheticNow we realize we are dealing with generalizations here and that empathy is by no means the preserve of women. Nor is each and every woman capable of empathy.
We are merely pointing to the fact that since women tend to be more emotional of the two genders, the ability to allow oneself to experience a full spectrum of emotions can be directed to improve one's empathy levels.
Empathy emerges from being in touch with your own emotions, which is familiar territory for many women. From a good knowledge of one's emotions, feelings, and motives, also emerges overall emotional intelligence. And that is a big plus in business settings. In fact, I'd go so far as to put emotional intelligence ahead of any other as a prerequisite to long-term success.
How does emotional intelligence and empathetic nature help a businessperson?
- It helps you keep your ego in check.
- It allows you to give credit where it is due instead of hogging the limelight all the time.
- It helps you find the middle path in the midst of a persistent disagreement with someone.
- It helps you see the other person' point of view.
- It helps you negotiate smartly, instead of rigidly making it all about you.
- It helps you get over perceived slights easily.
- It helps you approach people, make new contacts, and negotiate deals.
- It helps people warm up to you.
Women have loads of resiliencePhysically speaking, women are very resilient, especially those who have been through natural childbirth. And as things stand in nature, you can't have one kind of resilience without another. So chances are that if you are resilient physically there is some sort of subconscious mental resilience backing it.
What do we mean by resilience?
Very simply, the ability to deal with life's hardships and to emerge the stronger for your experiences.
That is the defining quality of an entrepreneur because running a business in a competitive world means putting yourself out there and then taking the good with the bad, and never giving up.
The birth of a company in many ways is like that of a baby. It is an exciting, frenetic, and emotionally exhausting time. It is laden with many pangs and pains, expectations and fears. It's a long, labored process at the end of which a company is born. Then starts another phase of extreme stress. The all-consuming nature of looking after your company. Due to the nature of the beast you will have to be available all the time. Everything that you do has to be centered around your company, your personal life takes a firm backseat. Things are yet to settle into a rhythm so nasty surprises will always be around the corner. (All this while your multitasking abilities will prove to be priceless.)
Then after a few months or a year things will have fallen into place somewhat and your company will have learned to stand on its two feet.