Women Leaders Making an Impact
Learn how organizations benefit when women lead—as women

by Entrepreneurs’ Organization / © 2021, Mansueto Ventures, LLC. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

When I first started in the business world, female leaders wore pantsuits and assumed a tough demeanor. Looking back, women felt they needed to adopt a masculine style to fit into a male-dominated environment, where leadership looked strong, domineering and authoritative.

  Today, modern ideals of transformative leadership value skills like emotional intelligence, empathy and inclusiveness—nurturing qualities I’ve found women tend to possess. Organizations benefit from women leading as women, not women feeling obligated to lead like men.

  What does this changing face of leadership look like, and how do we manifest it?


‘A shifting mindset’

  While men and women can make equally great leaders, it’s widely documented that men generally show greater confidence in business and therefore put themselves in the mix more often. For instance, if a job description has a checklist of requirements, a man may apply when only meeting a couple of them, while a woman is more likely to feel she needs to meet them all.

  As women recognize that they are just as smart and capable in business as men, they take on more leadership roles and find greater success.

  Carole Buyers, managing partner at BIGR Ventures, notes that six of their eight portfolio companies are led by women.

  “With early-stage companies, we are investing in people,” said Buyers. “We didn’t pick our portfolio companies because they were run by women, but because the leaders stood out as incredibly bright, humble, gritty and able to work through difficulties with poise.”

  Buyers’ decades-long career in finance gives her a long-range view of how women have developed as leaders: “I grew up with four brothers, so I didn’t even think about the fact that my industry was 90 percent men. Now, I look back and see how much things have changed, in part because of a shifting mindset among women, knowing they can take on any role they want.”


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