15 women leaders figured in the list of Fortune’s ‘World’s Greatest Leaders’ list for 2017. Ranging from management to politics, women leaders have pushed frontiers further, conquered new territory and certainly made their mark. From turnaround stories to crisis management, they have done it all, with elan.
A closer look speaks volumes. Leadership, typically in this case, without a direct command, is more difficult to execute, and turning around situations is a whole different ballgame. What seems to work in their favor, and most people they’ve led would agree, is the degree of empathy. This, coupled with the power of subtle influence, makes them a class apart.
These are probably the two greatest traits of every woman leader in Fortune's list, and in the corporate world, this is more relevant than before. Women leaders tend to be more sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of others around them, and their response is almost always well thought out and appropriate. The rise of startups and the sharing economy necessitates a certain degree of democratization of authority.
Women leaders’ ability to listen and empathize, especially in the corporate world, often forms the basis of long-term employee relationships, transforming into stability in governance, operations and overall loyalty of a workforce towards the business leadership, which, in turn, translates into better customer service. And in an era where business owners and HR leaders across the world are increasingly considering the employee as an internal customer and the highest order of priority, these leadership traits make such organizations stand apart.
Power is a double-edged sword, and effective leaders need to wake up to the fact that it must be wielded, but with caution.