Six Characteristics Of Women CEO's

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By Stephane Leblanc, Founder and CEO, International Centre for Conscious Leadership

Although there are a lot of efforts done by many people and organizations to increase the presence of women in senior management positions, the percentage of women CEOs in the US and Canada still remain in the single digits.

In the US, of all the Fortune 500 companies, there have ever been only 97 women CEOs.  In Canada, only seven of the 249 companies listed on the main index of the Toronto Stock Exchange in September 2017 were led by women.

This makes it even more important to understand the characteristics of these women CEO's and how got they the top.

For this, we can get a lot of insights from a study done by Korn Ferry.

1. These CEOs worked harder and longer to get to the top.

These CEOs worked harder and longer to get to the top as they have taken 30% more time to attain their position than men as they have had to work harder and prove themselves more to rise to the top.  They were an average of four years older than their male counterparts, and worked in a slightly greater number of roles, functions, companies, and industries.

2. They are driven by a sense of purpose and business results

Many male CEO's are mostly focused on achieving business results.  Women CEO's are driven both by a sense of purpose and achieving business results.  They are motivated by a mission, and the possibility for their organization to have a positive impact on employees, clients, the community and the world. 

3. They master essential business skills

They master essential business skills such as courage, risk taking, resilience and management of ambiguity. Throughout their career, they focused on developing the skills required for any senior executive, man or woman.

4. They engage their team

They engage the power of their team by demonstrating humility, appreciation for others, and a tendency to share the credit with others. They also spend less time on self- promotion. This is a characteristic of conscious leaders who put their focus on the needs of others.

5. They focus on serving the organization

The majority of the women CEOs focused on meeting business targets and seeking challenges instead of promoting their personal career advancement.  Many of the women said they never realized they could become CEO until a boss or mentor encouraged them. 

6. They used their background in technology and finance as a springboard.

Most of the women CEOs demonstrated their skills and expertise in science, technology, engineering and mathematics as well as finance and economic throughout their career. These fields allowed them to prove themselves with precise and definable outcomes.

When reviewing these characteristics, we can see that women CEOs are naturally more conscious leaders than the average male CEOs and that increasing the quantity of women CEOs is essential to transform the world of business to make it more conscious and create a world that thrives.

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