I’ve talking with many leaders over the last several month and our discussions have centered on succession planning for their organization. What’s interesting is that in a majority of cases their succession pools have been led by women entrepreneurs.
Granted, many of my new clients are now privately held mid- market businesses, but the impact of this on our economy could be staggering. We are going through a leadership revolution.
This is a major shift over the past ten years. I think we can attribute three key factors to why women are rising to the top of many privately held organizations.
The first reason is that women entrepreneurs have been founding and leading more of their own organizations. After many years of trying to climb the corporate ladder, many women have decided to create their own businesses and opportunities. Most of their organizations have been launched into new high growth markets and this has provided them an opportunity to grow their business faster and with less formal structure that you find in many publicly traded companies.
The second reason is the rise of formal mentoring networks that support women entrepreneurs in the many different ways that were unavailable in the past. These women are taking advantage of these new connections to create stronger communities for their businesses to thrive in. New technologies are providing these leaders with opportunities to work together on a global basis. In the past, the old boys’ network was responsible for creating significant controlled growth in the economy. Key word there was control.
Today, new disruptive technologies applied to a new business can provide significant speed and agility for these women entrepreneurs. The advent of stronger analytic capabilities provides many female leaders with the raw data to help them make better, more intuitive decisions. One of the things I have discovered over the years is that many women are faster decision makers and tend to be able to correct their actions more quickly than my male clients. They are not as tied to their processes but to the results they want. Try taking care of sick children or aging parents for a day and you’ll see exactly what I mean. Agility is built into their DNA.
The third reason is a higher level of emotional intelligence I see in many of the woman entrepreneurs I work with. With all the uncertainty in markets women are better at understanding how to lead. They are much more capable of building relationships with their key stakeholders while continuing to move their agenda forward. They communicate to their followers what is going on and why they are taking the actions they are.
This emotional intelligence allows them to attract better talent to their organizations earlier. Most private business leaders struggle to attract the best and brightest to their organization. This new leadership skill allows for stronger, more capable leadership teams that permit these leaders to respond more quickly to market opportunities and challenges.
Now with all this going for women entrepreneurs what might derail this future revolution? I’ve noticed small pockets of resistance from women when it comes to hiring men. They tell me all the reasons they prefer a female CFO. Having been working with leaders for over 30 years it doesn’t surprise me. It was like this many years ago when I worked with male leaders. Many men had a view that women couldn’t do certain types of jobs. They couldn’t have been more wrong. My greatest fear is that many of the next generation of female entrepreneurs could make a similar mistake. As the line blurs between the genders, roles, and responsibilities, great leaders must possess the ability to remove their own negative bias from their hiring processes. If they want to continue to grow their businesses they must look for talent in the most unusual places including in the opposite sex. One key advantage women have is they are much better at finding and developing talent in other people.
How else can women entrepreneurs use their emotional intelligence to build a stronger organization? You might also enjoy How Do Entrepreneurs Become Better Risk Takers?
I’ve made a living helping other serving leaders to grow their organizations. This next generation of leaders continues changing the way we lead and how we can find joy in our professional and personal lives. I hope you are ready for an incredible ride.