Nicole Monturo is an accomplished executive and leadership expert.

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3 Powerful Female Executives

It’s no secret that, when it comes to success in business, women have more hoops to jump through than their male counterparts, and it shows. Of the Fortune 500 companies, only 4% — a grand total of 21 — are run by women, and of the 29 companies that were new to the list in 2016, only one is headed by a female. Although there are numerous obstacles and roadblocks women must circumvent to reach the top, it hasn’t stopped the driven women who have climbed their way up the ladder and earned their place as powerful female executives here in the United States. Let’s take a look at some of them.

  • Sheryl Sandberg
    • This social media mogul is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Facebook, where she has helped the revenue increase 66-fold since 2008 when she first stepped into the role. She is a passionate supporter of women in business and women in general, and her book Lean In, which was inspired by a TEDTalk she gave in 2010, calls for us to change the way we view women in general and instead look for ways to help them succeed. She is an outspoken opposer of the current government administration, and has pledged a portion of her $1.4 billion fortune to help women progress in the world.
  • Beyoncé
    • It’s unlikely that there’s a person in this country who’s not familiar with the name of this entertainment giant. TIME Magazine’s runner-up for Person of the Year in 2016, Beyoncé’s industry shattering visual album Lemonade brought to the foreground issues that the black community faces throughout their lives that often get swept under the rug. She has a personal net worth of $265 million and, together with her husband Jay-Z, the couple is reportedly worth $875 million and was the highest paid couple of 2016. Aside from her performance career, Beyoncé is also the founder of Parkwood Entertainment, a recording label which she hopes to use to level the playing field of the music industry which is currently dominated by men.
  • Susan Wojcicki
    • There is a lot of competition out there when it comes to social media and streaming sites, but Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube, has kept the business not only afloat but thriving. Susan first got into the tech game in 1998 when she joined Google as its 16th employee; the business actually operated out of her garage for a time at its inception. She was also behind the 2006 Google acquisition of YouTube for $1.65 billion and, 8 years later, she took the place of CEO for YouTube in 2014 where she has worked wonders for the business. This feat is all the more impressive when you consider that she is a mother to 5 children.

4 Best Blogs on Leadership

The internet is a wonderful thing. It provides us with boundless resources on any topic you can conceive all available with the press of a finger. However, this is just as much a curse as it is a blessing, because with boundless information comes the burden of sifting through irrelevant, poorly written, and dishonest content until you find what you’re looking for. That’s why I’d like to make your lives (a little bit) easier by sharing a few of my favorite blogs that cover the topic of leadership. While this is only one subject and there are millions out there for which I cannot offer any assistance, leadership is something about which I am very passionate and well-informed. If you are interested in reading more about leadership, check out a few of the blogs on leadership that I regularly like to read!

  • Great Leadership
    • If you’re looking for a go-to resource for information and opinions regarding leadership and management, Great Leadership is your answer. The blog was created by leadership development expert Dan McCarthy who sought to share his 20+ years’ worth of knowledge with other, aspiring leaders. For the past two years, he has earned the honor of being named among the Top 10 Digital Influencers in Leadership. His expertise makes for one informative read.
  • Michael Hyatt
  • Leadership Now
    • At Leadership Now, they’re seeking to change the narrative that “leaders” are people we only see in professional settings to one where leadership in all its forms is recognized and celebrated. The site is run by Michael McKinney, who wants to tear down the notion that the only people who can lead are figures of authority, and his blog offers tips on how to look outside the context of yourself and lead those around you.
  • Extreme Leadership

Monkey See, Monkey Do: Why Your Employees Follow You

Have you heard of the term “leading by example”? It essentially means how leaders intentionally or inadvertently set the standards in their business. As the leader, their leadership style filters down to their employees as they adapt to their surroundings — and sometimes mirror their leader’s actions for various reasons. The phrase “monkey see, monkey do,” is highly applicable here. Most bosses lead by example, without them even realizing it! So why does it seem like your employees are following you? Below are some reasons why.

Your Employees Want to Fit In

Say for example someone new starts in the office. They don’t know anyone, they don’t know how to act in their new surroundings, and they’re probably quite nervous. The first instinct to kick in would be to find a way to fit in — and the first person they will look to will be their leader. To fit in with the rest of the office, employees may:


  • Copy dress. Does the boss wear a fitted shirt, dress pants, and no tie? Or does the boss wear jeans to work every day? Regardless the type of dress the boss wears, employees will wear likely wear the same. “Fundamentally, fashion is about relating to each other in groups,” says Julia Twigg, professor of social policy and sociology at the University of Kent. “Most people are very concerned at the idea of not fitting in.”
  • Adapt to Talking Styles. Does the boss speak eloquently, or does the boss use curse words in the office? Is there a phrase the boss often says, like “cool beans”? Bosses set the tone in the office, and that also includes speech patterns. According to The Telegraph, human brains imitate the speech patterns of other people without meaning to. It’s a subconscious action because as people interact with one another, they mimic each other’s speech patterns to “empathise” with their conversation partner. And yes, that even includes employees who have a different accent than their boss, then will adapt their speech style!

Your Employees Want to Be Liked

Call it brown-nosing, call it sweet-talk, or call it kissing up, but employees want to be liked by their leaders. In fact, in a survey conducted by Debenhams, two-thirds of managers admitted to a “heightened awareness” of staff with a similar style to themselves — and may give kudos to employees who are similar to themselves.

Your Employees Might Be Looking for a Promotion

And if employees are trying hard to be liked by their bosses, they might be looking for a promotion. “Bosses often appoint and promote people who are like them,” says Dr. Karen Pine, a psychologist from the University of Hertfordshire. “Boards are renowned for electing members that resemble existing ones.” Employees want to find commonality with their bosses. This can include ways of dress and speech patterns, and even going so far as to having the same tastes in food or hobbies.

nicole monturo humility

Why Humility is an Important Trait for Leaders

Leaders are everywhere you look. There are leaders in government, leaders in the workforce, and even leaders among groups of friends. Quality leadership requires certain traits that make followers support a leader. The power of a leader resides in ethic, performance, ability, strength and more. However, behind all of those traits lies humility.

Humility is important for leaders for a multitude of reasons. It protects a leader’s credibility. Building credibility takes time and effort, but caught in the wrong and that can all diminish.

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think like that, you’ll do things differently” – Warren Buffett

The spotlight is on leaders constantly. One mistake and there’s potential for disaster to strike. Humility among leaders shows that a leader can admit when they’re wrong. By human nature, people make mistakes. Owning up to it takes strength and humility.

To be humble, one must know when others are right. Not that a leader may be wrong, but when it comes to a matter of opinions, humble leaders accept ideas and explore possibilities other than their own perspective. This also shows that a leader doesn’t have a tight grip on control. Often leaders get caught up in control that they lose part of their ethics or dignity. Sometimes a leader has to take a step back, and to do so it takes humility.

Successful leaders need humility to keep them in check. If a leader gets too confident it may hold them back or slow down their progress. A humble leader accepts success and continues to look at the bigger picture.

Humbleness also allows a leader to take a step back and ask for help. Leaders can seek expert opinions in areas beyond their own to combine knowledge and wisdom to get the job done in the most effective way.

Think of a leader you look up to and trust. What makes you like them and believe in them? Most people look up to leaders because of their quality, what they have to offer to their followers, their sincerity and compassion towards others.

A humble leader doesn’t shy away or put themselves down. A humble leader shows dignity and confidence while remaining thankful for all their accomplishments. Although humility can be hard to learn, the trait is a great quality for any leader to attain.

How to Define a Great Leader

According to, a leader is the one in the charge and the person who convinces other people to follow. But they define a great leader as one inspires confidence in other people and moves them to action. There are many ways to define a great leader — just ask Entrepreneur, Inc. and Forbes! Below is a short list what being a great leader means to me.

A great leader is accountable for their actions.

When something goes wrong, great leaders take responsibility for everyone’s actions by putting it upon themselves for the company’s failure, and they don’t put the blame on anyone else. To alleviate the problem, leaders jump in with their subordinates to help find a solution and get business back on track as soon as possible. Even when business is smooth sailing, great leaders give praise when it’s appropriate, look for ways to improve their company, and consistently check on their employees to see there are any small issues that can be addressed before it becomes a bigger problem.

A great leader believes honesty is the best policy.

Leaders who are ethical and honest with their subordinates believe in the golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. Leaders want the whole truth, and nothing but the truth from their employees, regardless if it’s good or bad news. Leaders set the standards by being completely honest and ethical with everyone so their employees will reciprocate the gesture. By building a relationship based on trust, openness, and ethics, great leaders believe honesty is the best policy.

A great leader is empathetic to their employees.

Great leaders keep the thoughts and feelings of their employees in the back of their mind, and are understanding to their employees when personal or family emergencies arise. If an employee’s work performance suffers because of an external factor, great leaders may privately inquire about the employee’s personal life, and are often supportive.

A great leader sets clear guidelines.

Nothing is worse than a leader who doesn’t set clear expectations — it sends their employees into a frenzy! A great leader sets guidelines from day one, follows through with said guidelines, clearly communicates what they expect, sets deadlines, and doesn’t give anyone special treatment. Clear guidelines will minimize frustration and confusion among employees, and they will feel more at ease and confidently do their jobs. Clarity is the pathway to solid results.

A great leader is approachable.

Everyone has different communication styles. Some employees come from a different cultural background and their people skills might be different than what you’re used to. Some employees might not speak your language as fluently, and therefore have difficulty understanding workplace expectations. Some employees may have different personality than you. Some employees may respond well to a certain leadership style, while others may not and feel pressured. Regardless of the differences, a great leader is approachable and shows flexibility. Leaders who adopt the “door is always open” policy are viewed at the most approachable leaders.

How do you define a great leader?


nicole monturo books

The Best Books On Leadership

The Reading List For Leaders

Leadership is not merely earning a position; it is a process to always work for the betterment of yourself and your employees. Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet for becoming a strong leader; and with the diversity of technology in the workplace, you may find as a leader that there’s a lot you still need to learn. Still, one of the hallmarks of a strong leader is a constant pursuit of self-education, and in keeping with this, I’d like to discuss some notable books that all leaders, current or aspiring, should read.

Adaptive Leadership by Roselinde Torres, Martin Reeves, and Claire Love

The long-held perception of a leader is of an individual that spearheads and singlehandedly leads an organization to success. However, the idea of a single, dominant leader simply does not work in this day and age. Adaptive Leadership posits that a company must be invigorated by a free flow of ideas and information between employees, with leaders willing to take risks and listen to advice from their subordinates.

This book states that modern leaders should be able to lead with empathy and create a collaborative environment that rewards experimentation and unconventional thinking.

Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Teams are never homogeneous. As a leader, you will have to reconcile a variety of personalities at all times, a practice put to the test in times of crisis. Team of Rivals describes Lincoln’s struggle to unite the country to abolish slavery, surrounding himself with a diverse team of individuals unafraid to challenge him. Kearns Goodwin depicts Lincoln as a humble leader, one that understood the value of working with others of differing opinions.

Lincoln’s understanding and compassion earned the respect of his cabinet members; and any leader can stand to learn from his willingness to listen to others.

Thinking In New Boxes by Luc De Brabandere and Alan Iny

Any company should be unafraid to experiment and work with new ideas. For instance, BIC, a pen company, took the risk of selling disposable pens and wound up carving themselves a niche with other disposable items.

Moreover, it’s not just about a one time effort—businesses should always test the limits of what’s possible and constantly reevaluate the spaces that they work in.

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing

Any leader should be prepared to confront adversity. Endurance tells the story of Ernest Shackleton’s ill fated expedition to Antarctica. Perhaps losing a deal is not as dire as a voyage through Arctic oceans, but Shackleton’s determination and courage were responsible for keeping a disaster from being a tragedy.

The Social Animal by David Brooks

Perhaps a more unconventional choice than the other books on this list, The Social Animal follows two fictional characters throughout their lives and their relationship, peppering their experience with Brooks’ own research on human psychology and social norms. It’s a case study and deconstruction of modern culture and the notion of success; as leadership is redefined as a concept, Brooks similarly makes points about human achievement on a broader scale.

A great read for any leaders interested the primal forces that drive us as individuals and members of society.

Personal History by Katharine Graham

As the first woman to lead a Fortune 500 company, Katharine Graham fought hard to build up the Washington Post after her husband’s suicide. Graham’s constant learning and struggles against her husband’s abuse to find success is moving and an excellent story about overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds. It’s a very personal biography, one that gives you firsthand insight into Graham’s strife and eventual victory. Personal History is an inspiration to me and an excellent read for anyone that feels that they cannot overcome their own circumstances.

nicole monturo leaders

8 Rules From the World’s Most Successful Female Leaders

Women are making incredible strides in their professional careers, taking on roles that would have never been considered possible a few short decades ago. There are female workers in every sector in the United States (and many other places throughout the world) and more women hold leadership roles, accomplishing incredible things in those positions. While it’s inspiring to see how far we’ve come, there is still a lot that can be done for women and their professional journeys. Women hold less than 4% of corporate CEO positions and are only about 20% of America’s government, even though they make up half the country. For the rest of the women out there, here are some rules from the world’s most successful female leaders on how to keep moving forward and help women achieve even more!

Find courage

To become a successful women, you need to say goodbye to fear or use that fear to further your career. If something seems intimidating, do not let it get the best of you. You can conquer your fears to achieve true success. Be courageous and try something new, even if you don’t know how it will work out. Refuse to become complacent with what you’re doing and constantly seek improvement.

Understand calculated risks

Taking risks likely instills a sense of fear in you, because you do not know whether the risk will pay off. Remember to find courage and take that risk! Carefully think over the decision and then make a calculated risk in order to help yourself. Know how you can benefit from the risk and make sure it isn’t rash.

Imagine bigger

When trying something new, ask how big it can be. Instead of settling for how things already are, innovate new ideas and get creative. You can always be more successful or aim for something higher, so keep yourself on your toes and look ahead to the best you can be.

Discipline yourself

Learn to focus on what’s important and where you wish to accomplish the most. You cannot do everything at once, so practice discipline to manage your time and focus on the areas that truly ignite your passion. If you spread yourself too thin, everything you’re doing will suffer.

Take control of your career

Constantly evaluate your career and think about where you want to be. What do you want to be doing in five years? Ten? Take the necessary steps to reach those goals. Find businesses that help you reach those goals, but if they hold you back, go somewhere else. The only one who can really help your career is you.

Utilize determination

If you truly want something, you need to constantly stay determined to get it. Without that determination and focus, you’ll feel defeated whenever an obstacle arises. Know what you want and never stop chasing that dream; with determination, you’ll find it much easier to reach your goals.

Make smart hiring decisions

Many people advocate hiring a diverse group of employees, so you can hear a variety of ideas and perspectives. If you hire a group of people who thinks exactly the same way, you’ll miss valuable viewpoints and lack a well-roundedness that’s essential to business.

Be a master at delegating

While it’s common for successful people to value control so they know tasks are being done correctly, it’s vital that you know when to delegate. If you try to do every single thing yourself, you’ll burn out. Learn to delegate tasks, at work and home, so not everything rests on your shoulders. True leaders know how to recognize competent workers (and partners) and let them help out.

Check out this article for real-life applications of these rules and the women who follow them.

nicole monturo leadership

Why Leadership Is An Important Trait To Possess

A career is a series of steps, each one taken on our faith in what we’ve learned from those who walk ahead of us. But the sense of direction granted from the insights of previous travelers extends beyond the boundaries of one path. Direction doesn’t tell us where to go. It tells us where we can go; it illuminates the reality of both departure point and destination, shedding light on countless possible routes in between. And people need direction, precisely because we’re not born with some innate, individual instinct for it. From our first breaths to the start of our professional lives and beyond, we constantly trust in the authority of others’ experiences to inform our own decisions. Without direction, there would be no progress.

Becoming someone who people trust to follow is a journey in itself, one that only the persistent can weather. This is because great leaders do not blindly command, they suggest and advise based on knowledge gained from those who led them. Regardless of whether it’s professional or personal, leaders realize their efforts are necessary. Developing the traits that distinguish great leaders will not only ensure you perform an essential human service, but point you firmly in the direction of progress as well. If you’re still unconvinced, below I’ve listed just a few of the reasons leadership is an important quality to possess.

Leaders Inspire

When you accepted your current job, did you expect to stay in that position indefinitely, your efforts never recognized or rewarded? Probably not. In fact, you might’ve been awed by the presence, knowledge and penchant for leadership of your boss, or others. You might’ve witnessed the finesse with which they handle difficult clients; the ease with which they mitigate potentially disastrous scenarios, and set winning renown in your industry as your goal. Or perhaps you feel your boss is inept and unqualified, and you’re certain that you could (and will, eventually) do a much better job. Either way, a leader has inspired you to achieve.

Leaders Strategize

Any organization, no matter its size or function, has a purpose; a mission which is always considered when formulating strategies. Leaders consider the pitfalls and positive points of every feasible strategy. They combine a practical assessment of objectives needed to be completed for a goal to happen with a theoretical pattern of potential actions, and settle on an approach which achieves the most objectives and minimizes negative results for everyone invested.

Leaders Delegate

To reach a goal, someone needs to assign tasks. Delegating responsibilities is a primary function of the leader, the individual who is trusted above others to hold a position of authority. Handing out jobs is far from the most fulfilling aspect of leadership, but it is essential for everyone’s success in the long run.

nicole monturo leadership

Five Leadership Lessons to Help Your Business Boom

Leadership is not only a skill, it’s an art. It takes practice, patience and perseverance. If you’ve committed to working hard and realized what it takes to be a leader, you will become a great one. Businesses need good leaders in order to ensure the success and growth of the business. Successful leaders are able to motivate and inspire others to make a positive impact through sharing ideas and inspiration. Here are the top five lessons I’ve learned about leading.

  • Team Work

The biggest factor that I stress within the workplace is teamwork. Many people don’t realize that teamwork is essential in a successful business. A lot of leaders tend to get too caught up in their work, and forget that they have a team of people who are focused on the same goals and objectives as you are. A true leader never forgets about their team mates. A leader tends to refer their projects as “we” and not “I”. Establishing a team oriented community will allow members to complete their tasks in their roles, overall establishing a relationship and trust.

  • Encouragement

As Jack Welch once said, “ Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” Leadership is like being a mentor within your team. It is important to encourage others within the workplace to establish a relationship in which your team members will learn and grow by speaking their minds. Through encouragement, members are able to learn better through establishing a sense of self-esteem and confidence when they know that they have someone who supports them.

  • Investing In Yourself (and Others)

The most important thing you must do is to constantly invest in yourself, so that you can invest in others. As leaders, we are always learning and growing. Education never ends, therefore it is essential to find a way to invest in yourself. Anything that allows you to learn and practice new things is an investment. Investing in yourself will allow you to invest in those around you. Part of the leadership role is to teach others and help them grow. You’ll be able to pass on information that will be resourceful to others and create an overall community of thriving people.

  • Trust

Trust is an important matter that goes both ways. As a leader, you should trust your members to do their work and come to you with any challenges or problems, but those around you should trust you as well. You can gain others’ trust by always keeping your word and being a transparent person. You will encourage others by doing the same and creating an overall establishment of trust that will lead to success.

  • Listening

Listening is a huge aspect when it comes to establishing a relationship made of trust. People can hear you talk all day, but it’s important to give them a chance to speak their minds that are full with ideas. Listening can also benefit you to think of new ideas and help solve problems. It also shows your that you care. Listening is an essential role that comes with the responsibilities of leadership.


Being a Boss vs. Being a Leader

Many people confuse the difference between a boss and a leader. There are many factors that are overlooked, although they may sound as though they have the same responsibilities. The best thing to remember is that a leader leads and a boss (manager) manages. Ultimately, bosses can grow and become leaders through practice and development. The key thing is to understand the difference in characteristics. Here are the top differences of a boss vs. leader to keep in mind.

1. Positioning

Titles are a big distractor when it comes to the differences between managers and leaders. Managers tend to remind others that they are “the boss”. Unlike bosses, leaders don’t remind others of their title. Typically a leader is chosen through the people that are inspired by that person, therefore many leaders may not realize their “position” until later. A leader works with the team on the same level, to create mutual understanding and communication amongst each other. This creates inspiration and motivation, rather than instilling fear into employees. Leaders are there to help create and do, while managers tend to oversee while focusing on the title/ hierarchy of their positions.

2. Team Work

One of the biggest factors that define the difference between a leader and a manager is the ability to develop and lead a team. A leader focuses on creating relationships with others in order to establish an effective team. Leaders know that an effective relationship and trust among team members will lead to overall positive outcomes, therefore, leaders trust their members to complete their tasks and innovate their ideas. This allows for team members to build their self-confidence and become more productive. Bosses (or managers), on the other hand, don’t make relationships a priority. Managers focus on getting things done, in order to move onto the next task. Learning and growing through the process is the least of their concerns. Bosses focus on an individual’s position, rather than overall teamwork. Managers tend to create fear and distraction through micro-managing, which ultimately leads to an unhealthy relationship between the boss and employee. Managers don’t expect to establish and grow a relationship amongst the team because their philosophy of getting things done has already been established through past managers.

3. Leading vs. Managing

There is a huge difference between leading and managing. Many bosses tend to focus on managing rather than leading, but in order to reach an overall goal, successful leadership is necessary. Leadership is a process that helps develop others. Leaders know that overall success happens because of everyone that contributes effort. People are more likely to contribute when they are being praised for their work and feel as though their position is important to the team. Leaders focus on helping others learn and grow through their mistakes.  Managing is a job that tends to oversee another’s position. Managers tend to provide very little feedback and have a “right” or “wrong” attitude for their employees. They focus on getting work done through a strict process that has already been established by someone else, therefore taking risks is not something that managers tend to do. Leaders on the other hand, will take risks and challenges with the philosophy of learning and growing throughout the process. They believe these types of actions will allow a member to boost critical thinking and problem solving skills, ultimately developing an individual.

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