Skip to main content

You Can Save Us From a Leadership Crisis

You Can Save Us From a Leadership Crisis

According to the World Economic Forum, it will take 208 years to achieve true gender equality in the United States. They published a video with a bunch of comedians that's both hilarious and not-so-funny.

Are you willing to wait? Are you willing for your daughters and your granddaughters to wait for 208 years to live their lives by design? I have three daughters and I'm not waiting.

Here's the catch: Leadership is an inside job. It doesn't start with a title; it starts with a state of mind. Among girls we can banter about what's not working, but in the workplace we need to rise above the banter. Our example will generate an instinct to lead that is contagious.

A wise man once said if you have leadership straight between your ears, you'll see the world more clearly. Then Brene Brown came along and challenged us to stop wearing striving as a badge of honor.

When you are at your best, everyone in your life wins. At work, at home, at the PTA. Everyone.

We need to slow down to go faster. How do we reinvent normal? Leadership is not about memorizing competencies. Leadership is about lighting a fire in others through our example.

High on this realization that there has never been a better time in history for women to step into their calling with power and confidence, I was reading in my wine magazine about the character qualities that separate jug wine from the really good stuff. After five years working and taking graduate courses in leadership development, I easily recognized the qualities of a noble wine as the same qualities that make a great human.

[Related: Six Key Steps to Research Company Culture]


Harmony in a wine means all the factors combine like musical notes to produce a pleasing effect. Harmony in my life means that I have the insight and intuition to see how all the different people in my world blend to make a great team…or family.


Symmetry is about similar parts facing each other or around an axis. When we’re talking about human character, this axis is the point of connection between all the facets of human design — spirit, soul, and body. Harmony with others in my world requires symmetry in my life.


Complexity in a wine is what separates jug wine from premium wine, because multiple factors combine to create outstanding quality. Complexity makes life interesting if we're curious.

[Related: Five Reasons Strategic Leaders Need to Ask Good Questions]


Finesse in a wine is about delicacy — the flavors don’t hit you head-on. They are subtle. Leaders with finesse know how to read a room and have the intuition to build influence.


Elegance in the dictionary is “the quality of being pleasingly ingenious and simple.” Think about the concept of the aroma or flavor that lingers after you taste a fine wine. In a leadership context, what kind of flavor lingers when you leave the room?

The wine metaphor creates a fun conversation out of a serious question. Have you ever really examined what inner leadership requires? Have you ever taken the time to explore it?

[Related: How To Redefine Happiness To Make It Easier To Achieve]


Donna Carlson's vision as a coach, speaker, and trainer is to connect women to share their gifts and elevate one another so they can catalyze something bigger together than anyone can do alone.

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.


Continue learning with this Ellevate Playbook:

Ellevate Network is a community of professional women committed to helping each other succeed. We use the power of community to help you take the next step in your career.

By sharing your email you agree to our Terms of Use & Privacy Policy

By sharing your email you agree to our Terms of Use & Privacy Policy


Thank you! Career advice and opportunities are on the way to your inbox.

Add your zip code, so we can invite you to our local events!