The leadership equation is changing. With Linda Yaccarino preparing to take the helm as the new CEO of Twitter, one thing is clear: so-called “soft” skills are the new essential skills. The world’s biggest companies are beginning to recognize that traditionally feminine leadership qualities like empathy, adaptability, humility, and vulnerability are what’s needed now and going forward.
I’ve known Linda for nearly a decade. She is a dear friend, a soul sister if you will, and one of the earliest supporters of my company, The Female Quotient. There is no doubt in my mind that Linda is exactly the right leader for this moment.
There is a reason her nickname is the “velvet hammer.” She is the definition of grit and grace. Not only does she have the power skills of a seasoned executive, but she’s also a convener, a consensus builder, and a collaborator. Linda does not simply fill a seat at the table, she brings her whole self and channels her feminine instincts to find real solutions for change.
Today’s organizations need leaders who aren’t afraid to stand up and stand out. When you lead with authenticity and transparency, you’re better able to foster an environment where everyone feels seen, heard, and valued. By prioritizing diverse perspectives and experiences, you, in turn, create a more innovative and effective workplace.
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This is precisely how Linda made the unexpected the expected during her time as chairman of global advertising and partnerships at NBCUniversal, where she oversaw a 2,000 person team that generated more than $100 billion in ad sales. She is known for rallying her peers toward change, as she did by taking on the advertising industry’s inadequate measurement systems. And, more recently, she rallied advertisers to be open to Elon Musk – and Elon Musk to be open to advertisers.
When you add women to any equation, there is a return on equality. In fact, studies show that companies with more than 30% women executives are 48% more likely to outperform companies with less gender diversity. This is, at least in part, because we don’t just do deals, we build relationships and connections. This is the difference between short-term success and lasting transformation.
Linda’s appointment to CEO is a signal to all companies that there’s a new normal. As we continue to challenge the status quo, the very definition of leadership is evolving. And, with it, comes a new lexicon for how we talk about essential skills. As women, we’ve been labeled for centuries, but it’s time to flip the script. It’s time for us to step into our power and stop hiding our feminine strengths. It’s time for companies to celebrate and prioritize these values and qualities. Our warmth, resilience, and passion have never been more essential to lead and drive transformation. We change the equation. Together, we’ll close the gender gap.
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