Personal Characteristics of Women Leaders

If you are a young woman just starting out in your career or even a more seasoned professional who may be feeling stuck in a rut, you’re probably interested in learning all you can about ways to move forward professionally. That’s good news because a desire to learn more is definitely important to career success. There are also personality traits that are helpful to cultivate when seeking professional growth. Strong, vibrant leaders such as Suzzanne Uhland, a partner at O’Melveny & Myers LLP in San Francisco, likely possess certain qualities that have helped them to make a name for themselves in their field. Take a look at these personal characteristics of women leaders to discover how you might incorporate them into your own business persona.

Ego Strength

The term “ego strength” doesn’t mean someone who is full of herself or one who will walk over others to get ahead. It simply refers to having a strong understanding of one’s self. This kind of self knowledge leads to confidence, a quality that is essential to successful people. If you have a strong sense of self, you will be able to make competent decisions without second guessing yourself. You also are aware of your strengths and can utilize them to reach goals. Someone with a high level of ego strength also is not afraid to ask when they don’t know something. This kind of confidence is much needed in a leader.


Those who are confident in themselves and knowing of their unique strengths are usually quite assertive in going after what they want in a positive and healthy manner. Not only do they reach for their personal desires, they bring their team along for the ride. While they are forward thinking in wanting to assert their leadership for the benefit of all,they are also not afraid to let individuals know when they aren’t carrying their weight. Assertive leaders aren’t afraid to state their case in order to make things happen. However, they aren’t overly emotional or demanding in doing so.


Strong leaders possess empathy. They can relate to the feelings and struggles of those around them, and they are compassionate toward others. These professionals can make strong judgment calls regarding tough decisions and come to solutions that are beneficial to the majority. It’s important to know that empathetic leaders aren’t pushovers, though. They’re self-knowing and assertive, remember?

Tolerance of Stress

Being a leader comes with stress. People look to superiors to make things happen. Leaders hold a great deal of responsibility in the success of their organization. In addition, they usually hold themselves to a very high standard and can become disheartened if they feel they aren’t meeting their own expectations. While all of this is par for the course, it’s absolutely crucial that an effective leader not crumble under pressure. People do not tend to follow those who fall apart easily. Fortunately, the people with strong ego strength are usually self-aware enough to recognize when they need some stress relief and assertive enough to take the time to meet their needs.

These are a few of the characteristics of great leaders. If you don’t feel you possess them, don’t worry. Such qualities do come more readily with time and life experience. In the meantime, you can work toward nurturing these traits in yourself.