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Athena @SXSW: Three Skills of the Athena Leader

Being an entrepreneur is bad for you. The stress, the hours, the junk food and the lack of exercise will take their toll on even the most upbeat and energetic of us. So how do you navigate this gauntlet of physical, emotional and health challenges to lead your company to success?
In the past, those praised for their leadership tended to be commended on their relentless nature and independent thinking while being forgiven their aggressiveness and excessive pride. This behavior was explained since it was their life’s work, and that passion is where they derived their energy to keep going. When playing in such a high-octane environment, sometimes it taking a big risk (or gamble) was the only option to take the business to the next level; when it worked, the leaders are praised for their vision.
Yet as technology matures in the context of tougher economic conditions perhaps the current (and future) group of entrepreneurs would benefit from a different leadership model. As the (social) network economy matures, it’s becoming much more difficult to create the game-changing app or service that will deliver instantly huge valuations. In order to be successful in today’s world, we believe that there needs to be a shift away from “conventional leadership traits” like aggressive risk-taking and independent thinking, which are predominately masculine traits, and instead integrate feminine traits like patience, empathy, flexibility and collaboration. These traits can help to unlock sustainable, measured growth opportunities by taking a long-term view on company valuation.
In any case, encouraging leaders to open up and build teams around a collaborative culture by sharing their power will benefit all entrepreneurs. By focusing on incorporating feminine traits, traits that women are naturally inclined to use in their professional lives, we may foster the rise of more female entrepreneurs, and that would benefit us all.
Without further ado, here is a list of three skills of the Athena leader (that are also good for you):
 
1. Collaboration - The ability to make the whole more than the sum of the parts is essential to early stage companies where problems are many and resources are few.
2. Empathy - There is only so much data. Understanding consumers' desires and aspirations is a powerful way to guide product development. Founders and CEOs need to learn to trust their instincts.
3. Flexibility – It’s rare that your ideas will turn out the way you envisioned them. The ability to adapt the hypothetical to the day-to-day reality is critical to making your vision come to fruition.
 
The Athena Doctrine: Rise of Feminine Values
Sunday March 10 - 3:30-4:30PM
Austin Convention Center, Room 10AB
More info
See you there!

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