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Leadership isn’t something that comes naturally to everyone. The number of women in top leadership roles still lags behind male counterparts. While there is no single recipe for success, women who are successful share many similar traits.

Whether it’s Oprah, Beyonce, J.K. Rowling or Michelle Obama…The world’s most famous and successful women have, the belief and courage to walk their own path. But what is it about their character that has helped to push them along this path to success?

Here we look at 4 traits that successful female leaders have in common:

They aren’t afraid to express themselves. Successful women aren’t afraid to use their voice and express their opinions. This doesn’t just mean putting your own point of view out there and shouting over everyone in the room. Healthy communication is a strength all women (and men) can benefit from, good communication means expressing your views clearly, but also listening and understanding the views of others. You can’t respond appropriately if you aren’t listening to those around you.

A strong sense of ‘self’. Successful women don’t rise to the top by luck, or accident. They do so because they know who they are. They know their personal strengths and play to such strengths to strive for their goals, while pushing forward until they bring what they want to achieve to the table. There is also the advantage that knowing and being comfortable with yourself makes it easier to overcome obstacles that might floor others. You don’t have to be endorsed by others to believe you are good enough. Successful women have the ability to build on their strengths with 100% gusto. 

Building strong relationships. There is a famous saying when it comes to raising families ‘it takes a village’…But this saying it is not only relevant to raising children! The ability to build a strong team, surrounding yourself with people who can support you emotionally and in practical terms is invaluable. Successful female leaders have a skill for building great rapport and relationships with people and then maintaining those bonds. Creating success alone is possible of course, but it’s a lot easier, and much more fun when you are surrounded by the right people who ‘get’ you and believe you are capable, with the added advantage of having reliable people you can delegate too, so you can use your time better.  

Break the rules.  Some of the most successful female leaders in history have had to fight to beat the system and stay ahead. Being brave enough to think outside the box, question what they see, and having the strength and belief in their visions, are all traits that have enabled them to break free of the restrictions other people might have put on them. Some of the most famous women in business have had to take the road less travelled to ensure their voices are heard.

We would love to hear your thoughts. Which trait do you need to work on the most? What can you put in place this week to help move you closer to achieving the goals you have set for yourself?