It’s critical to ‘find your own style’ if you want to lead successfully as a woman, says Anne-Marie Slaughter


It's safe to say that taking on the role of being a leader is no easy task, but someone's got to do it.

In an era where female leadership continues to be brought back to the table for discussion, it's important for any woman looking to lead, to find their own sense of style and identity – that's according to a pioneering female executive who's worked for the likes of Hillary Clinton and currently heads up a leading U.S. think tank.

President and CEO of New America Anne-Marie Slaughter speaks onstage during Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit - Day 3 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on October 14, 2015 in Washington, DC
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"I would say for women specifically, it's critically important to figure out your style," Anne-Marie Slaughter, president and CEO of New America, told CNBC's 'Life Hacks Live' at the Viva Technology conference in Paris.

"(When) you look at a man, you look at the way he leads and there are things you can learn: how to project in public speaking, how to be assertive, how to have a presence."

"But you also have to know who you are. And if you're friendly, or if you simply don't like being abrasive – find your own style, because you can't lead in someone else's clothes. And women often do have a different style than men."

Anne-Marie Slaughter is probably best known for her ground-breaking opinion-piece published in The Atlantic in 2012, titled "Why Women Still Can't Have It All", where Slaughter draws upon her own struggles of working in a high-powered career whilst raising two sons, in order to tackle the topic of gender equality and work-life balance. However she's acted as a strong leader in other places too.

At present, Slaughter is the CEO and president of New America, a think tank devoted to renewing American politics, prosperity, and purpose in the digital age, and has also worked as the Director of Policy Planning from 2009 to 2011 for the U.S. State Department, where Hillary Clinton was her boss, who was the U.S. Secretary of State at the time.

In addition, Slaughter has written a number of books and publications, as well as having taken on top roles at both Harvard Law School and Princeton. So it's fair to say, Slaughter has had her fair share of working in a leadership role.

Hillary Rodham Clinton (R) with Anne-Marie Slaughter (L)
This is the most important thing Anne-Marie Slaughter learnt from Hillary Clinton

Broadening out the subject to both men and women, Slaughter did note that in some ways there's no difference between women and men when it comes to leadership.

Therefore when looking to lead, it's important to have courage, standup for what you believe in and be willing to accept that you won't always be liked.

"In some ways there's no difference between women and men in leadership, which means courage, really having the courage to stand up for what you believe – that you may believe in a product, you [don't have] to believe in a set of moral principles," Slaughter said.

"But even when other people are telling you (that) you're crazy or even when people don't like you – which is one of the big lessons of leadership – is you have to be willing not to be liked some of the time."

"You cannot lead an organization and make the decisions you have to make – whether sometimes you have to fire someone, whether sometimes you have to say "no" to a friend – people won't like you and if you can't do that, you're not ready to lead."

Life Hacks Live is a series produced by CNBC International for Facebook, where tomorrow's leaders get to ask some of the world's biggest influencers for advice. You can watch the full interview here.