Leadership Qualities of Female CEOs from Fortune 500 Companies
Last year, of the Fortune 500 companies, only 32 have female CEOs, this is a record high, with 11 more female CEOs than 2016. However, that is only 6.4 % of the top executives, this shows that female CEOs are still underrepresented worldwide. Furthermore, in the history of this influential list, only 64 women have made the list; prominent figures such as Mary Barra, the first female CEO for an automotive company, General Motors and Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM.
In an Oxford University study charting global success, female CEOs said success came when they invested in their own career development. Researchers identified three “self-themes” — self-acceptance, self-development and self-management– common to the female leaders.
Self-Development is Key for Women in Leadership
The study showed while many of the male CEOs referenced a defining moment that happened for them in early life (like leading a sports team, for example), the female CEOs instead pointed to events that happened once they were in the workforce: when they failed, grew, or otherwise recognized the inner drive.
Women in this study prioritized “self-development,” the process by which they prepared for the responsibilities of higher leadership. They asked for assignments, demanded more responsibility and crafted a management style.
“I never understood that I just brought a different kind of strength to the table. I had to grow into my shoes … no one handed me the keys and said ‘OK, it’s your turn to be CEO. ‘”said Shelley Zalis, CEO of The Female Quotient, a women’s networking group.
To help women and organizations alike to close this gap, eCornell is now offering a unique online program that provides women with a highly personalized approach to achieving their leadership goals. Designed by award-winning Cornell University professor Deborah Streeter, the Women in Leadership certificate gives professional women in every industry and function actionable tools and influencing tactics to transform unseen barriers to success into open doors.
Designed to be completed in 3 months, eCornell’s Women in Leadership program is relevant to women at any career level, but especially valuable for those in early management roles—where studies show the greatest gender disparity in promotion rates—as well as those who aspire to leadership positions and have at least three to five years of professional experience. The program also offers organizations an applied, personalized learning and development option to fill a gap in gender diversity efforts at a price point usually seen for generic one-day programs.