5 leadership tips from Fortune's most powerful women

Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit, which brought together approximately 450 female executives, wrapped up Oct. 14 in Washington, D.C.

The conference brought together accomplished women from across the nation to share stories and ideas about leadership. The Washington Post gathered pieces of advice from five speakers at the summit.

1.  Put on blinders — sometimes. Carolyn Tastad, Procter & Gamble's North America group president, noted the difference between men and women's reactions to promotion. While men typically jump at the opportunity, women tend to focus on the tradeoffs of taking the job. "I just need you to put on the blinders for one minute," Ms. Tastad told women at the summit, encouraging them to forget what they'd have to give up and focus on the opportunity instead. "There are so many other things you have to consider, but there are solutions," she said.

2. Don't forget your employees' spouses. Carolyn Everson, vice president of global marketing solutions at Facebook, advised attendees to think about how long hours affects not only employees, but also their families. When Ms. Everson's team was working lengthy hours, she bought gifts for and wrote letters to her team members' spouses. "I wish I could say it was my idea," said Ms. Everson. "But it was my husband's."

3. Be a "thermostat." Ms. Everson also told the women to consider how certain scenarios call for different leadership styles. She shared an analogy she was once told: Think of yourself as a thermostat. Sometimes leaders have to turn up the temperature to amp everyone up, but other times they have to turn the temperature down to increase everyone's focus.

4. Learn to be comfortable with discomfort. "When did you ever learn the most in life?" asked Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM. "I guarantee it's a time you felt most at risk." Ms. Rometty is the first woman to lead IBM. "Be comfortable with the fact that growth and comfort don't co-exist," she said.

5. Take time to be vulnerable. Many conference speakers discussed the importance of vulnerability, including Ms. Everson, who said she shared her performance review with her team members. Being willing to share your fears, weaknesses and personal life with others makes you more authentic. Although U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Samantha Power has experience speaking before the U.N. Security Council, she said she often still feels vulnerable. She told the audience about a "totally traumatic" time in her life — when she had to give a speech to her six-year-old son's class.

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