Discover why women are set up for success in business.
We know that employers are placing more focus on skills than degrees and experience. While it’s important to possess the technical abilities to successfully execute your job responsibilities, interpersonal skills are becoming increasingly more valuable in today’s global workplace. Luckily for us, women are innately equipped with many of the attributes that foster successful leadership in business.
According to Forbes, the top three female communication strengths are: the ability to read body language and nonverbal cues, good listening skills, and effective displays of empathy. From an early age, many women are taught to verbalize their thoughts and feelings, and in our society, most would argue that it’s more socially acceptable for women to articulate their emotions than men. As FBI Counterintelligence Agent LaRae Quy puts it, “Little girls are given permission by society to be empathetic, use language that expresses emotions, and place priorities on developing deep and meaningful relationships (starting with dolls).” Women use these skills in the workplace to open discussions and converse from a place of trust and transparency. It also helps us at the negotiating table, where we can read the situation and apply that knowledge to advance the mediation.
According to Entrepreneur, “If you want to build a successful business, you need to focus on building relationships with three key audiences: your customers, influencers, and your competitors.” Many of our ancestors spent their lives creating families and building a home for them, and these intrinsic experiences help us cultivate relationships in the office. We use our social skills to build trust with our colleagues and develop rapport with our partners. Former US Senator Barbara Boxer affirms, “Women do have a more inclusive way of leading. We try to bring more people along with us.” A study conducted by Princeton-based consulting firm Caliper (Qualities That Distinguish Women Leaders) confirms that women have an “inclusive, team-building leadership style” and choose to listen and share information as a way to problem-solve.
According to the Caliper study, “Women leaders are more assertive and persuasive, have a stronger need to get things done, and are more willing to take risks than male leaders.” Our collegial approach to leadership helps facilitate collaboration and the open sharing of information. We choose to discuss possible solutions with more people and in turn, gain more facts and perspectives. Combine this with our keen sense of nonverbal communication, and we become better positioned to make informed decisions to solve problems.
Psychology Today reports that emotional intelligence contains four parts: self-awareness, managing emotions, empathy, and social skills. A woman’s capacity to tap into this potential can help us navigate complex situations and manage the behaviors and expectations of our colleagues. It also helps us identify and connect with others from a place of empathy and understanding. Psychology Today articulates the role of empathy in business, “…empathy fosters rapport and chemistry. People who excel in emotional empathy make good counselors, teachers, and group leaders because of this ability to sense in the moment how others are reacting.”
Women possess many distinguishing qualities that can set us up for success in business. It’s no wonder we’re seeing more women enrolling in MBA programs, elected to governments, and at the helm of Fortune 500® companies. Our unique aptitudes are valuable to recruiters and help companies achieve growth through thoughtful communication, meaningful relationships, and high emotional intelligence that fosters teamwork and connection. Click here to read more stories about successful women in business.
This article originally appeared on mba.com and is reprinted here with permission.