Black women are infamously known for strength, admirable audaciousness, and a seemingly unending capacity for love and personal sacrifice. But in addition to this, we also dream big.
[Related: Black Enterprise Announces 50 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America]
According to Black Women Ready to Lead, published by the Center for Talent Innovation, a private-sector consortium that helps organizations leverage their talent across the divides of gender, generation, geography, and culture, African American women are 2.8 times as likely as white women to aspire to powerful positions with prestigious titles.
The study also showed that black women who hold positions that enable them to exhibit strong leadership skills and a certain level of authority are more likely to feel a sense of meaning and purpose in their professional lives. In other words: power matters, and black women are intrinsically attracted to it.
But what steps are necessary for uncovering your inner ‘Woman of Power?’ Is it merely receiving a promotion, salary upgrade, or extended responsibilities?
Dynamic leaders develop and sustain environments that encourage high-performance. They don’t just ambiguously hold power, they use it to inspire others to achieve greatness. Here’s a wisdom-jewel from Ursula Burns, Chairman and CEO of Xerox: Leaders empower.
“Greatness is growing a customer base. Greatness is distinguishing ourselves by innovation. Greatness is hitting a certain EPS or revenue growth target or cash target. But there’s a whole bunch of other stuff around it that helps you do that,” said Burns in a 2012 interview with Triple Crown Leadership. Effective leaders ‘empower.’ After selecting correctly, they have to empower [their team] to actually do the job.”
So, as we ascend to positions of authority and obtain more responsibilities in our professional lives, let’s remember that at the heart of strong leadership is the ability to inspire those around us: to lead is to empower.
For more resources for finding your inner ‘woman of power,’ be sure to attend Black Enterprise’s 2016 Women of Power Summit, being held March 9–12, 2016 in Hollywood, Florida.