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4 Leadership Lessons From Marissa Mayer's Surprise Rise

Toft strongly recommends that women business owners and executives build peer networks to cultivate relationships and be well-connected to executive search professionals to keep abreast of possibilities.

It is also generally harder for a female executive to establish credibility.

The fact that Mayer was able to do this internally at Google is in and of itself an example of "excellent leadership," Toft says. And her leadership likely included some attributes with which women excel more often than men. "Women have been known to care more about employees, multi-task more -- there are certain things that women do well by their nature," the executive recruiter adds.

3. Culture is paramount to any company.

A successful company is only as good as the people who work for it and employees are only as successful as the company lets them be.

Mayer was central to creating Google's strong entrepreneurial and open culture, which the company places a very public focus on.

"We strive to maintain the open culture often associated with startups, in which everyone is a hands-on contributor and feels comfortable sharing ideas and opinions. ... Our offices and cafes are designed to encourage interactions between Googlers within and across teams, and to spark conversation about work as well as play," Google says.

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Google is "all business, but they're having fun and it's creating a good environment," Spire's Connors says. He wonders how much of the Google's culture Mayer will bring over to Yahoo!

Can Mayer recreate that "startup" spirit at a technology brand that has seemed to be moving in the direction of the dinosaurs?

Mayer has already "taken the cash registers out of the (Yahoo!) cafeteria," according to CBS News. While Business Insider reports she has been making herself visible in the cafeteria. That can go a long way in raising employee morale.

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