As a coach and consultant, research on leadership behaviors are always fascinating to me – and, when it focuses on women leaders, it really piques my interest. One report developed by our friends at Performance Programs, Inc., a research firm specializing in industrial psychology and psychometrics, in conjunction with Wenroth Consulting Group, looked at the traits that high-achieving women exhibit in both corporate and entrepreneurial careers. Having been on both sides of the fence, I was curious to see what the differences were between successful corporate women and successful women entrepreneurs.

The research report, Extraordinary Businesswomen: Finding the Right Spot in an Entrepreneurial or Corporate Career, identified several similarities and differences in the 79 women included in the study. Not surprisingly, both entrepreneurial and corporate high achievers have tremendous drive and ambition. They easily adapt to changing circumstances, have high expectations of themselves and others, and are self-starters. Corporate and entrepreneurial women also have significant levels of courage, charisma, energy, creativity, resilience, and self-discipline – all crucial to leadership effectiveness.

What set high-achieving entrepreneurial women apart from corporate women were the traits we often associate with entrepreneurship – risk-taking, boldness, and out-of-the-box thinking. The entrepreneurs in the study were more impatient, unconventional, and emotional; they preferred to work outside the system, making their own rules; and they took greater risks, fueled by their passion and “gut.” They also tended to seek learning that is practical, relevant, and hands-on.

On the other hand, corporate women in the study tended to be more willing to play by the rules and work within the system. They also had a greater capacity to work well with others to achieve results and they appreciated learning for its own sake.

Understanding your style and tendencies helps you to identify the opportunities that will best suit you. Personalized assessments such as Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, DiSC®, or the Hogan Assessments used in the Extraordinary Women research can provide you with this important information whether you are in the early stages of your career, considering a mid-career change or promotion, or planning what you want next for yourself at the end of your career.

As they say, “there is no time like the present” – for taking a fresh look at where you are today and where you want to be in the future. Understanding your values, behavioral style, needs, and desire will help you to set a direction and goals for yourself and – go for it!

What do you know about yourself and your style? How can you learn more?

What does that tell you about your future direction and goals?

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