Interesting Thoughts on Leadership from Women in Tech

Did you see last week’s research paper from The Glass Hammer on women in tech?  A survey of 200 junior and mid-level women in technology roles were presented with ten traits of leaders, and asked to pick three that describe today’s leaders.  They were later asked to select the three traits that best described themselves.  The full list is here, but in a nutshell, these fairly ambitious women (85% hope for a promotion within 3 years, and 62% are shooting for the C-Suite) agreed that the number one trait of technology leaders was “Collaborative.”  After that came “Innovative” and “Decisive.” 

Few would be surprised that “Technically Adept” didn’t place in the top 3, as we all know while technical competence is the price of admission, it is rarely the distinguishing factor of a leader.  Half of the women surveyed saw themselves as “Collaborative,” consistent with how they view leaders.  The real surprise that Glass Hammer pointed out was that the rest of the lists were very different.  When asked to evaluate themselves, “Decisive” and “Innovative” came in 9th and 10th place, respectively.

What are the implications?  Perhaps it is the need to learn how to balance collaboration with skillful decision making, a powerful combination that requires strong listening skills and effective communication.  I’m surprised that “High EQ” didn’t rank higher on either list, because that’s the underlying commonality that allows decisive leaders to also be seen as collaborative and innovative.  

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