How to succeed as a female business leader: 3 tips

Female leaders must account for gendered perceptions when considering their leadership styles, according to a KPMG report.

Why risk-taking is vital for women to become leaders in the workplace

More than half (66%) of women said they have to alter their leadership styles more than their male coworkers if they want to move higher up in the company, according to Advancing the Future of Women in Business: A KPMG Women's Leadership Summit Report.

The report surveyed 550 executive women about their experiences as high-level employees in a male-dominated workforce. While 80% of women said they believe they are more adaptable in stressful situations than men, women are more often forced to change their leadership styles to fit others' perceptions.

SEE: Tips for building and advancing your leadership career (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Because women are often characterized as being "too bossy or demanding," "not aggressive enough," "not collaborative enough," or "too direct," 58% of women said they have changed their leadership styles to avoid such perceptions, the report found.

Nearly half (49%) of executive women said they relate most to an authentic leadership style, but struggle to determine when their authenticity is too much. Some 58% of women said they believe a transformational leadership style is what is necessary to reach the C-Suite.

"It's important for organizations everywhere to gain a more thorough understanding of the specific challenges women on the verge of breaking into the C-suite face," Lynne Doughtie, KPMG US Chairman and CEO, said in a press release.

The report identified the following three keys to success to help guide female executives:

1. Be more adaptable in your leadership style: Leaders face new and changing situations regularly, so female executives must be flexible enough to handle shifting circumstances.

2. Be your most authentic self: To be authentic, executives should focus on the specific skills they hold that are unique to themselves. Most importantly, leaders should work to forge honest and genuine relationships with team members.

3. Develop your leadership style in the workplace: Leaders should always be learning, and seeking developmental opportunities inside and outside of the company. Set your own goals as a leader and for your team.

For more, check out How to be a more efficient leader on TechRepublic.  

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Image: iStockphoto/Ridofranz