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5 Key Themes for High-Achieving Women Leaders

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What does it mean to be successful? For today’s high-achieving women, success is more than breaking barriers and achieving their professional goals. Success is about how they get there, too.

Our research shows that as high-achieving women approach their careers and their lives, they’re factoring in 5 key themes: agency, authenticity, connection, self-clarity, and wholeness.

These 5 themes are woven into the career decisions and leadership styles of women leaders. Collectively, the themes reveal deeper, more complex images of successful women and offer insight for women who are navigating their leadership journey. Let’s take a closer look at the 5 themes:

1. Agency is about taking control of your career. It is about being your own pilot and feeling as if you’re shaping your job, your leadership style, and your life. In our study, “agency” referred to intentional actions taken towards achieving a desired goal. For example, you may take steps toward becoming more comfortable exercising authority or learning to be more politically sophisticated within your organization. Strategies for realizing greater agency include:

  • Analyzing your career steps.
  • Setting realistic, specific goals and developing a plan for achieving them.
  • Asking for challenges outside your current functional orientation.
  • Seeking recognition.
  • Asking for what you deserve.

2. Authenticity is being genuine, and being yourself. The importance of authenticity to women in the study was resounding, whether or not they felt they were living extremely authentic lives. Authenticity comes from finding your style, your way of leading. By developing self-awareness, you gain clarity about your values, preferences, and skills.

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