The Superpower Every Woman Disrupter Needs to Have
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Some people say that leaders are driven by greed and put in place by fear. Women disrupters (or wonder women) don’t buy into that falsehood. As Diana Prince reflected in the movie Wonder Woman: “Only love can truly save the world -- this is my mission."
Saying that statement out loud takes guts. The truth is that women who tout the importance of soft skills or profess the power of love in leadership are often seen as weak, yet outspoken, assertive and ambitous women are viewed negatively by both men and women.
Yet, a leadership approach that combines a soft skillset with a mindset that favors love is exactly the right combination to inspire people to achieve incredible financial and innovative outcomes. Entrepreneurial women who disrupt the status quo through the power of love come in different shapes and sizes and work in many different professions, each with something to share with the rest of us. Here are three ways that love can help you lead like the wonder woman you are.
1. Let love rule.
Heather-Jean MacNeil is the global director and founder of Babson College’s WinLab, a startup accelerator for women. Being an entrepreneur means leading the path that will, inevitably, result in surmountable obstacles for some people and unbeatable barriers for others.
MacNeil's team and has cultivated a sisterhood effect that manifests through some of the most critical aspects of effective entrepreneur-leader growth. MacNeil says, "The creation of social capital, critical sharing of resources, ideas, and connection. The starting place for the power of love lies in the person you see in the mirror. Embracing your own secret sauce is necessary in valuing others."
MacNeil’s advice: Keep love at the center of every interaction you have. She says, “The power of love is the glue that bonds people to ideas, organizations, and teams -- these factors combine to make bold things happen despite even the biggest of obstacles."
2. Listen with empathy, not judgment or expectations.
Gerianne Patti is a clinical social worker at a community mental health center. She applies entrepreneurial tactics every day to help her city’s most vulnerable residents. By meeting clients where they are, Patti's approach goes beyond words when she translates her client’s needs into an action plan that enables personal growth in a loving and supportive environment.
One of the best things about Patti’s story is her willingness to adapt her own behavior in order to help her clients. A born fixer, Patti is mindful every day that her work creates disruption in the lives of her clients and that she is there to create solutions with her clients -- not for them. She tries never to rush a client’s journey and always maintains a focus on building and cultivating a trusting relationship.
Patti’s advice: Use empathy to meet people where they are, not where you want them to be. “My job includes honoring a person’s truth and not trying to impress my values, judgments, opinions or beliefs on them,” she says.
3. Use love to find common ground with your friends and foes.
Love is a superpower that brings out the best in the world around us and in ourselves and enables transformation of any size or impact to happen.
Leading change is not easy and requires a critical mass to be on board. Those who succeed do so by using empathy to understand motivations for and against change. Successful wonder women disrupters use this information in concert with a servitude leadership approach to enable people to accelerate their individual change.
My advice: Be willing to work with supporters and detractors of your work. Remember, people only like change when it’s their idea or when they believe the change will be positive for how they spend their time and money. Your job is to use love and gratitude to find common ground among all your stakeholders because the people who are helping or hindering your work are human beings with feelings, wants and needs.