Do you want to be an empowered 21st Century businesswoman?

When the first generation of women entered the workforce in the 1970s, they succeeded in the only way they could – by imitating men. I know this all too well, because I did the same thing when I started my business at 23 years old.

Authoritarian leadership and tight control was the hallmark of that day’s businessman, and women were not exactly welcomed into the ranks of management. Well ladies, that was yesterday, and today is today!

Forget what your mama or your boss told you because following the rules can be bad for your career.

Today’s CEO/entrepreneur can no longer tap his/her company’s full potential using a “command-and-control” style.

The 21st-century businesswoman needs to be able to build a vision based on the awareness of economic transformation, then help her partners and staff fulfill that vision.

She must draw on a wide range of skills to get to the top and stay there.

Following are 7 Key Characteristics that are essential:

1. Sell the Vision: A leader with a fresh, independent plan for her company’s growth and future has a distinct advantage in luring and keeping great talent and investors. Vision is not some lofty ideal, but an obtainable concept that is easy to understand and will make the company grow to another level.

2. Reinvent the Rules: While women have traditionally been socialized to please others, the 21st-century leader knows that good girls rarely post great returns. The strong managers/owners today not only anticipate change, but they also create entirely new organizations that respond to shifts and search for innovation.

3. Achieve With A Laser Focus: Go where others fear to tread! Being aggressive and ambitious has long been considered male traits, but they are key qualities for new leaders. Today’s businesswoman can hone in on opportunities that others may simply not see, and then excel in that uncharted territory.

4. Use High-Touch in a High-Tech Era: When a number of leaders are conducting business by e-mail, voice mail, passwords, and PINs, the female entrepreneur succeeds because she guides with a strong, personal, bed-side manner. Today’s businesswoman is just as technologically savvy as her peers, but her skill with staff and customers is “high-touch,” which gives her a critical edge and separation from the “pack”.

5. Challenge or Opportunity? – Women are great a