The Big Leadership Flip: From Empower to Power

There are many reasons why I work with Take The Lead, but my favorite is that we help women leaders use what we’ve already got (that’s power tool #3!) rather than desperately searching outside of ourselves for that elusive thing to transform our lives and careers.[bctt tweet=“Women don’t need to be empowered; we have power. Full stop.”]But sometimes our ambivalent relationship with power holds us back from leading at full capacity. Research finds that women have been conditioned to doubt ourselves – no matter how much we accomplish. This phenomenon does not discriminate. It unites us.That’s why recognizing the enormous untapped power of women to achieve their goals and to transform organizations and society for the better informs everything Take The Lead does.phoenix groupTo create our unique Train-the-Trainer program this year, for example, we identified women leaders already on the ground leading their organization or field, starting businesses, running workshops, or speaking to hundreds of women each year.Imagine a table filled with the smartest women you know, assuming the best of each other rather than competing with each other, working together to create something new. Needless to say, we had fun.Women like New York-based Lauren C. Anderson, a former FBI executive and international consultant who recently spoke at Girls20 Summit in Turkey. Neeta Ragoowansi, founder of Women in Music, which connects women musicians with resources and support to get where they want to go in their careers. Katie Boone, Founder of the women’s co-working space and entrepreneurial community, EnvisionLab in Mankato, Minnesota where women of all backgrounds and faiths, including recent immigrants, work together to build the new economy. And in Arizona, Felicia Davis, a leadership consultant and executive coach who is organizing the Women and Power Symposium March 21-26, 2016. Indeed, Take The Lead – like your team or organization – is as strong as the women who drive it.Read about how it all got started here. Last May we trained the first group at The Omega Institute. In Phoenix this past October we trained the second group, funded by Freeport McMoRan and held at the Arizona Community Foundation.leaders groupHere’s something else different about our approach. We could have tried to share Take The Lead’s core curriculum, the “9 Leadership Power Tools to Advance Your Career” so only its author, Gloria Feldt, held the magic key to leadership. We could have created yet another program helping only individual women advance in their career rather than helping all women advance, leaving far too many of our sisters behind. We could have created a program for only one age or professional group rather than address all sectors and the three stages of a woman’s life where we know can make the most difference: college or early entry to the workforce, mid-career, and just under the C-suite or the highest levels of leadership.Instead we built a model for training that flips the definition of power on its head. A definition where my power and individual leadership never take away from yours, where leaders create more leaders, not fewer. That’s power TO. And we know each trainer will add her own special gifts to meet her audience’s needs. Sure, it required some fancy facilitation techniques with all that leadership present, but it was 10 times better than the old, outdated model of one expert at the front of the room, failing to recognize the different needs and talents (and lived experiences) of everyone there.Here’s what participants are saying:

After taking Lisa Mead’s workshop:

“I definitely plan on using the 9 power tools and doing my action plan. In the first 24 hours after training, I’ve already used the tools. I was in a meeting, and our President asked my manager to present my analysis to the Board. A little voice in my mind said ‘Define your own terms’ which prompted me to say, ‘I’d like to do that presentation.’ It worked, and now I’ll present my analysis to the Board.” 

Katie Boone and Sara Nett’s workshop:

“This workshop has provided me with sources of courage, support, and inspiration. If I can continue to maintain contact with those sources I believe future success will come much easier and bigger.”

Ariba Jahan’s workshop:

“I am going to voice more ideas which will help my firm grow. The notion of becoming more comfortable with conflict/chaos really helped me. I’m a consumate ‘people pleaser’ so sometime I shy away from power and leadership because I don’t like the chaos. Now I’m going to work on embracing it!”

Regina Huber’s workshop

“I want to take the lead in my business and create something that impacts others and improves their life.”

Felicia Davis’s workshop:

“Learning to ‘lean in’, recognize my personal power, and not shrink back to make others feel comfortable will assist me in fully engaging in my role which will ultimately benefit my organization.”

Mallary Tytel’s workshop

“The more we can incorporate power-TO versus power-OVER, the better off we all will be.”

With reviews like these, I’m confident our team of Leaders will do fantastic things in 2016 and am in awe of what they’ve done so far.In a world telling women to do just about everything differently or telling women they need to “be empowered”; our team is saying you’re fine the way you are. You already have power.Why does this work matter to me personally? Society badly needs the leadership women are already bringing to the table and also just more women leaders. And I believe the failure to recognize the power any woman has robs her of her dignity, the very thing she needs to embrace her power for good – for herself, her family, her community, or her organization.The work of Take The Lead is about exactly this – helping women embrace our power and use it most effectively. Just imagine if women everywhere made bigger and different moves. What would that world look like? It’s hard to imagine, but I like it.Interested in taking Take The Lead’s comprehensive curriculum from Gloria Feldt herself on your own time? Sign up for her 5-week online leadership certificate course “9 Leadership Power Tools to Advance Your Career” starting January 24th! Interested in a workshop with one of our Take The Leaders to meet your group or organization’s specific needs and reach your unique audience? Contact us!Are you interested in becoming a Take The Leader yourself? Apply here or contact me at to learn more about our Train-the-Trainer program!