The 2017 list of the 50 largest world leaders in Fortune magazine was announced recently. And one of the key highlights of this year’s ranking is that there are a lot of new women.
Of the 50 positions, 22 of them are held by female leaders. If we consider that the 34th place has four of them tied, it means that of the total of 53 people on the list, 25 are women. That’s almost 50%.
As many women choose to slow down – or even give up – their professional life to take care of family and other matters, this number is actually quite impressive.
In many cases, women are better leaders than men, since leadership is a trait that requires the ability to manage strength and compassion at the same time – something the female does very well. One of the studies proving this revealed that women interviewed scored better than men in 12 out of 16 competencies measured.
The work of a leader includes several tasks, but one of them is to offer hope for a better future. In fact, this is the main one. In an area where we are connected almost 100% of the time, the need for personal interaction can not be overlooked.
Studies have shown that when people work to achieve common goals with a certain proximity, their neurons mirror each other, generating greater empathy and trust. Finally, real leaders prefer to build bridges rather than wars with their competitors because they know that in most situations a solution that benefits both parties is viable.
Leaders’ energy is the force that prevents these people from giving up when they encounter resistance or obstacles. At the end of the day, the only difference between leaders and non-leaders is that the latter give up. If some of these great men and women gave up on the challenges, they would not be on the list.
Therefore, a lasting energy for good leadership is the main ingredient, and this exists from a strong belief in a set of positive values – and an objective based on those values.
Another very important thing we can absorb from this list is the key leadership teachings these people can offer.
Here are 5 lessons we can learn from 5 great leaders today:
Hu Shuli, chief editor of Caixin Media
In 1989, when she was a young reporter, Hu Shuli was suspended because she wanted the paper where she worked to cover the protests at Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Undaunted, she started her own newspaper, the “Caijing,” focusing on subjects ranging from government corruption to stock market manipulation. To this day, it continues to champion the cause of transparency in China, despite the significant risks associated with it.
Frank Mugisha, from the Sexual Minorities group
In Uganda, a country where homosexuality is a life sentence, Mushiga, who was only 14 years old, opposed the anti-LGBT law and led a campaign that resulted in the abolition of homosexuality. Now, at age 37, he continues to face tremendous hostility but is not intimidated by his strong leadership, fueled by his values and purposes.
Joe Biden, former US Vice President
After losing his wife and daughter, still a baby, in a car accident in 1972, Joe Biden lost a child to cancer in 2015. Instead of allowing these tragedies to affect him, he decided to make cancer cure the purpose of his life. It is a subject that he has focused with a large devotion throughout his term, and plans to continue during his retirement. When he left office, his passing rate was 61%.
Jack Ma, chief executive of Alibaba Group
Ma began his professional life as an English teacher, a language he learned when practicing with foreign tourists while offering free tour guide services. When he finally discovered the internet in the early 1990s and decided to invest in the e-commerce business, he failed numerous times before founding Alibaba in 1999. Despite all the difficulties faced over the years, Jack Ma never considered to give up.
Theo Epstein, president of the Chicago Cubs baseball team
Epstein has changed the process of selecting players to focus heavily on their individual characteristics. As the author of the “Fortune” article says, “features not only matter, they are essential to Epstein’s plans to win the world series.” The approach was instrumental in Cubs’ 2016 victory after a 108-year hiatus with no wins.
If there is one thing that Epsteins learned in his years as a Boston Red Sox team manager is that his dedication to team building alone is not enough. The value of each of the players is so more important.