Over the course of the semester, we have discussed many facets of entrepreneurship and how certain aspects affect women entrepreneurs specifically. For this blog post, I would like to discuss leadership and women leaders, both from the business perspective and from the leadership perspective.
To start, consider these questions: Are all leaders entrepreneurs? Are all entrepreneurs leaders? Do you need to be an entrepreneur to be a leader? Do you need to be a leader to be an entrepreneur? Why or why not?
Consider the leadership perspective. What set of qualities do you think must be present for a leader to succeed in their endeavors? Read “What Makes for an Effective Leader” by Sandra Larson for her views on the subject.
Now consider the business perspective. Is leadership the same as management? Is a good manager automatically a good leader? What are the differences between the two schools of thought? Hilary Owen of USAToday.com explores these questions in her article, “What Makes a Leader?“
Why would it be important for an entrepreneur to possess leadership skills? What parts of entrepreneurship might require the ability to lead? For one person’s perspective, read this blog post, “What Do Leaders and Entrepreneurs Have in Common?” Do you agree or disagree with the qualities he has mentioned? What other qualities do you think leaders and entrepreneurs have in common?
So what exactly is a leader? Check out this definition. Does it coincide with your definition? Leaders can emerge in all types of arenas. Some that we are most familiar with are business and political, but there are also social leaders, thought leaders, humanitarian leaders, etc.
Every year Forbes Magazine puts out a list of the 100 Most Powerful Women. Go through the 2015 list and explore some of the women on the list. Also check out this article that highlights some of the women on the list. Are these “powerful” women all leaders? What qualifies them (or doesn’t qualify them) as a leader? Choose one or two that you would like to discuss and talk about whether on not you think that she is a leader and why or why not. Are there any women on the list that surprised you? Were you familiar with all, most, most or not many of the women on the list? Forbes has been compiled this list for eleven years. Look at this article to see the women that have made the list since 2004.
The most powerful woman on the Forbes list is Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany. Elected in 2005, she is Germany’s first female Chancellor. Read this New York Times profile for more information on Chancellor Merkel and some of the challenges that a powerful Head of State (male or female) faces in today’s world. Are you familiar with Angela Merkel? Do you feel that a female Head of State faces certain challenges due to her gender that a male Head of State does not face? Do they face the same criticisms or are they different? Click here for a list of all current female leaders. What are your thoughts after seeing the list?
One woman that is considered to be a great leader even though she was not an elected official was Eleanor Roosevelt. (This link provides a video as well.) It is said that she changed the role of First Lady from that of figurehead and social direction to an active participant in the country’s governing (if desired). She was extremely controversial due to her strong opinions about civil rights and matters of state and her willingness to speak freely on subjects of great importance to her, and embraced a leadership position. For an in-depth biography of Eleanor Roosevelt, click here.
What women leaders are you familiar with? Are there any that you admire and/or respect for their leadership abilities? Why? Please feel free to discuss any women this week that you feel exemplify the qualities you associate with leadership and explain why you feel they are important. (They can be historical or current, business or otherwise.) Discuss what you think a leader is and if and why it is an important aspect of entrepreneurship. Lastly, consider whether leadership can be taught or learned, or does it rely on innate qualities. Do you think that you have the potential to be a good leader now or sometime in the future?