Leadership Lessons of the Tango

Strategy + business, August 28, 2018

By Michele Wucker

Everything I learned about management and leadership I learned at…the dance studio?

Well, yes. As a beginner student of the Argentine tango two decades ago, I used to come home reflecting on how much of what I learned from the micro interactions in class applied to everyday life. Those lessons in communication, adaptability, and teamwork stayed with me for many years, and resonate anew now that I’ve taken up the dance again.

Tango dancers, business leaders, and rising stars tend to demonstrate drive, persistence, concentration, and commitment. They also are ambitious, competitive, and impatient. These Type A personality qualities are often the ingredients for success in business and in life. But they also can lead to problems if not managed well. This is especially so for teams in which — just as in the tango — both leaders and followers share these high-performance traits.

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CNN: Lean In to Learn from Global Examples of Women

CNN In America asked me to put the brouhaha over Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, Lean In, into a global context. Here’s what I came up with:

Opinion: Lean in to learn from global examples of women

March 8, 2013

(CNN) – The courage of women like Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old student leader in Pakistan who was shot and nearly died for fighting for girls’ right to education; Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who endured nearly 15 years of house arrest because of her stand for democracy in Myanmar; and of precedent-setting presidents like Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and Dilma Rousseff of Brazil is inspirational.

America’s women and work discussion could take a lesson from other countries.

Americans make plenty of pronouncements about why countries like Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia should let women go to school, drive cars and have many of the rights American women take for granted.

But focusing exclusively on the extreme examples of restrictions on women’s rights elsewhere provides a convenient way to overlook the ways we could do better here at home.

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Womensphere Speech on International Development

I was honored to speak January 22 at the Emerging Leaders Summit put together by Womensphere, a fantastic organization that inspires and empowers women.

My panel, with a group of inspiring women leaders working on education, microfinance, widows issues, poverty, the environment, and other important issues, was on challenges and solutions to international development. You can see and hear what I had to say by following this link.

Michele speaking at Womensphere