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This article is provided by Agostina Chemello of Porch.com. This article is a companion to the interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Research Findings on Women’s Access to Leadership Development that aired on Tuesday, September 22, 2020.
From influential politicians to tech geniuses, Forbes’ 2017 ranking of the “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” runs the compass of everyone from Oprah Winfrey and Ivanka Trump to Angela Merkel and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg.
Ranging in age from 28 (Taylor Swift) to 92 (Queen Elizabeth II) it’s clear no woman is the same. There’s not one quality that helped these women climb to the absolute peak of power in their industries, it’s worth asking—what qualities do they share that’s helped set them apart?
To find out, we used IBM’s Watson™ Personality Insights API to examine speeches, interviews, and even social media commentary to decipher the more natural elements of their personalities. With only a few exceptions, every woman on Forbes’ list has been analyzed here. Read on for a more intimate look at these leading ladies.
According to IBM’s Watson Personality Insights model, there are five core characteristics that help define how a person engages with the world. These include agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, emotional range, and openness and are made up of personality facets that help individualize each person’s values and actions.
Across Forbes’ list of the 100 most powerful women in the world, openness was the most common personality trait. Described by IBM as “the extent to which a person is open to experiencing different activities,” openness includes a person’s imagination, artistic interests, and overall intellectual curiosity. Across all 100 women, two were particularly inclined toward this trait: Ranking at No. 72 Zanny Minton Beddoes, editor-in-chief at The Economist; who has helped grow the publication’s reader base by 20 percent, and Kathleen Kennedy, the president of Lucasfilm at Disney.
Emotional range and conscientiousness were also the most prevailing “Big Five” traits, personified most clearly by women like Safra Catz (the co-CEO of Oracle) and Nikki Haley (the Indian American ambassador to the United Nations). And while agreeableness wasn’t the most prominent “Big Five” trait, Beyoncé, Anna Wintour, and Oprah Winfrey are still using compassion and cooperation to their advantage.
Women’s day-to-day responsibilities may be different, but the skills required to make it into politics might not be so different from tech. Sympathy, intellect, and liberalism topped the list among women in politics including Germany’s Angela Merkel and the U.K.’s Theresa May. The same is true for media and entertainment where Oprah Winfrey, Anna Wintour, and Bonnie Hammer top the list of the most powerful women anywhere in the world.
A Cut Above the Rest
Of course, there’s more to what makes these women special than the “Big Five.” Other facets of their personalities have helped them stand out in, and in some ways disrupt, the industries they lead.
From the politically savvy to tech giants and entertainment superstars, the path to power for the top 100 women on Forbes’ list is unique. While what has helped them get to where they are today is different, the personality traits they sometimes share aren’t. From Oprah Winfrey to Theresa May, they sometimes share characteristics like intellect and liberalism (challenging the status quo) even if they execute them differently. Each of these women proves that even in male-dominated industries, breaking away from the norm can pay off in big ways.
Read the full article at Porch.com.
Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.
About the Author
Agostina Chemello is a guest writer from Porch.com.