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SEI Superpowers of Women in Leadership

Updated: Oct 5, 2022

Three women standing on a rocky beach with their arms raised in the air

This month our theme is Embracing Your Emotions. As women, we are so often told to be emotionless to be an effective leader. I believe the exact opposite! In fact, it's our emotions and our ability to understand our feelings that provides us with some serious Social+Emotional superpowers, especially for women in leadership.

I’ve identified three key areas where our Superpowers show up as we Embrace Our Emotions.


John Maxwell is known for his statement that, “Leadership is Influence, nothing more, nothing less….” The one in the room with the greatest influence is the leader, title or not.

I feel women in general can truly influence those around them and it’s a superpower. Influence is created because of how you show up, how you lean into and understand what others need, and how you build connections. Your passion for the work you do and how you support and serve others will give you great influence. When you gain influence, what you do can have a dramatic impact on your results, your team results, and the bottom line for your organization.

A huge element of your influence is how you show up as a coach or mentor. When you meet with your colleagues or direct reports, a woman who is using her SEI superpowers knows that genuine feedback is best. This woman is an active listener and ensures that they are creating a safe and balanced environment for the recipient to implement change and make progress.

2) Relationships

If you’ve heard me speak on leadership or have read previous blog posts, you might have seen a reference to the top four characteristics of admired leaders identified in the research conducted by Kouzes & Posner and found within their book The Leadership Challenge. After surveying more than 100,000 leaders worldwide over 3 decades, they found that most people who follow someone willingly want a leader who they believe is: Honest, Competent, Inspiring, and Forward-Looking.

When you look at that list, how do you measure up? What’s admired in the relationships we create with those we lead stems from how they FEEL about us and our treatment of them. The characteristic of honest is most often at the top of the list. The Social+Emotional Intelligence competency of Integrity is a superpower and aligns with what is admired.

For women who consciously work with integrity, it becomes a superpower as they build relationships based on trust. The S+EI superpower of empathy also helps women create a deep connection with others. These foundational elements of relationship building are essential to master, and I personally believe by fully accepting the emotions that come along with them, women have no limits when they are building relationships.

3) Inspiration

An inspirational leader is one who arouses enthusiasm for a clear and elevating picture of a better future. As we also see Inspiring on the list from Kouzes and Posner. It’s the last area where our superpowers can shine. Is it also on the list of the characteristics you most admire in leaders? I continually see it come up as an admired characteristic. Why? Because it, again, is related to how the person feels when they work with you or as part of your team.

How do women excel at harnessing this superpower? We, in general, freely and intentionally praise a job well done, celebrate the contribution of the entire team, and look for opportunities to nurture the less-experienced team members.

Using the inspirational leadership SEI Superpower may come more naturally to some; however, it doesn’t happen by accident. Becoming an inspirational leader involves intentionally looking for ways to help the colleague or direct report see their part in the organization’s vision.

Helping individuals with their career path as a leader or mentor is very inspiring for the recipient of those efforts. It requires a commitment of time. A woman who is willing to be intentional and make time for inspirational acts is a Superheroine in the eyes of those she inspires!

Maybe you don’t identify as a woman, but you too can choose to embrace your emotions and leverage these superpowers. No matter what, never forget the wisdom bestowed by Maya Angelou:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said. People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Everyone can find their SEI Superpowers and take steps so that lasting feeling leads to admiration and willing followership. We’d love your thoughts on this topic or if you feel there is an area we missed. Become a JennQuest site member so you may leave comments and receive notification when our blog is published each Tuesday.

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