If you manage your own business you know what a rewarding experience it is. You’re not only faced with interesting and challenging work on a daily basis but you’re also making a difference and impacting the lives of your staff and the community at large.

To accelerate your success here are three leadership secrets every woman business leader should know:

Secret #1 – Build your network

You might think you’re pretty busy right now with current clients or that since you don’t have a career or job, business networking is not as important anymore. Think again! Networking is key – not only outside your company to bring in more business, but also internally to understand your staff and corporate culture – this is critical to your business survival. Hosting team building or corporate training workshops in-house or attending business matchmakers can be a great way to build both external and internal allies and have a strong network.

Secret #2 — Master your emotions

Learning to master your emotions is a skill and an important one to develop. Being able to communicate well, listen and effectively handle unpleasant situations or conflict is critical at the leadership level you’re at right now. In fact, your ability to lead and influence is more important than your technical know-how at this point.

Emotional Intelligence (EI), which is now increasingly popular is your ability to  manage your emotions and relate effectively with others.  In a study of over 200 companies by Hunter et al, they found that high performers were 127% more productive than average performers.  Research indicated that 1/3rd of the difference in the two was due to technical and cognitive (IQ) ability, while 2/3rds was due to competence in the area of EI.  This shows that EI competency is an important determinant of being a effective leader.

Secret #3 — Select a mentor

In a study conducted by the authors of  Breaking the Glass Ceiling, they found that only 38% of successful men had mentors, but all of the women executives who procured senior ranks in organizations had them. This means mentorship is critical to growth and if you currently don’t have a mentor you should give this area some serious thought.

A mentor can give you advice on the next steps you could take in any given situation, on how to get visibility and recognition, and how to play the game in your business niche. You can make the setup as formal or informal as you’re comfortable with. A mentor can also be an excellent motivator and can un-tap potential talent you didn’t know you had. Find out more about the WBEC-West Ambassador Program and see if it’s right for you.