April 14, 2015

10 Leadership lessons from Madam Secretary

I am thoroughly enjoying Madam Secretary.  Of course, it's Hollywood and therefore Not Real.  But whoever is writing her character is incorporating some great leadership takeaways in her storyline.
Here are my Top 10 Leadership lessons from Madam Secretary~

#1.  She is not afraid of conflict in her own team and with her colleagues.  She is not in her job to please people, but to be a leader.  Leaders keep connected with their teams, but also think outside of the system they are working in.  Do you shy away from conflict or welcome conflict as a reality of leadership?  Do you keep your head out of the politics of the system you are in?

#2.  She always looks for a win-win.  It is not always possible, but it's always her goal.  How hard do you search for win-win situations in your work, family or marriage?  Do you start with the belief that 99% of the time there is a third way?

 #3.  She looks great.  And not in an overtly sexy kind of way.  In fact, she may be the only lead female character on tv that actually dresses like a leader might dress. She is stunning and looks fabulous, yet never uses her sexuality as power.  She is a powerful woman and she doesn't need to show skin to prove it.    What is your personal style when it comes to leadership?  Do you believe in "dress for success"? Why or why not? 

#4.  She has a real partnership in her marriage.  They aren't hung up about gender roles or who makes more money.  They take life, parenting, work together as a team. They make key decisions together and demonstrate real, healthy conflict.  Are you willing to lead regardless of who makes the most money?  Do you compete with your spouse or see yourselves as a team?  Do you make choices in your marriage based on gifts and opportunities or on gender roles?

#5.  She is vulnerable and has to find ways to manage stress.  She is not immune to the reality of her work.  It does effect her deeply.  She is not a superhuman.  Do you give yourself space to be human?  

#6.  She is an engaged parent even with a huge job.  I fully believe that women can have meaningful work and be connected, engaged, nurturing parents. Madam Secretary is a great example of it.  How do you stay connected with your children (if you have kids) when your work is really demanding?  Do you believe that meaningful work and excellent parenting is possible?  What sacrifices in both work and family might happen to do both?

#7.  She leads with her heart.  She allows herself to live into her emotions and doesn't separate her heart and her head.  She also has to make tough decisions, but she recognizes that people matter. 
All the time.   How are you able to lead from heart even as you make tough decisions? 

#8.  She is friends with her husband. They enjoy being together and they are fun to watch.  They don't have a perfect marriage, but they are committed to a relationship that is dynamic.  Do you create opportunity to stay friends with your spouse? How do you create space for life-giving friendships in your life?  

#9.  She seeks advice and wisdom from people ahead of her on the journey of life.  She recognizes that her elders have rich insights to offer and deep experience to share.  She is a learner.  How do you cultivate mentoring relationships with the generation ahead of you?

#10.  She takes up space at the table.  Even in the most high powered situations, she does not sit back or demonstrate anything but confidence (even if she fakes it).  Despite when she may not know what the next step is, she is fully participating.  She takes up physical, emotional and leadership space.  How do you take up space in meetings and conversations?  What might keep you "small" and how to you move past it in ways that help you accomplish your goals?

There's 10...what else do you see in this show that are leadership take-aways? 


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