BD Book Club: Wolfpack

Leadingwhether that be in your own life or with others–is a skill we’re all constantly trying to learn and evolve. Leading today can look different, with the shift of fully remote workplaces due to the pandemic and less face time. How can we lead well no matter the circumstance? What does leading well look like?

As a women-owned business, we value female entrepreneurs and leaders who are not only breaking the glass ceiling but building their own house. Abby Wamback is a revolutionary woman, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, FIFA World Cup Champion, and the highest all-time international goal scorer for male and female soccer players. Through her own experience, she helps pave the way for future women to lead in sports and beyond, and in the process, thanks the women who cleared the way.

Wolfpack is Wamback’s call to female leaders everywhere–women must know the power of their inner wolf, and the strength of their pack. Women leaders are up against different challenges when leading, yet Wamback’s leadership tips are universal and, in fact, should be implemented for better, more inclusive, and equitable workplaces to flourish.

Bottom line: every leader–man or woman–needs to hear Wamback’s eight New Rules to lead and live by.

“Wolfpack is a manifesto for everyone trying to lead––whether it’s a team, a company, a family, or a meaningful life.” – Serena Williams

There are eight New Rules to follow to be a better leader, but here are three favorites that stuck out as must-knows for both budding and existing leaders.

You Were Always the Wolf

Old Rule: Stay on the path.

New Rule: Create your own path.

Wamback uses the Little Red Riding Hood metaphor to paint a familiar picture of our lives, or paths, that are dictated by societal standards. Stay the course and don’t go off the path because it’s dangerous.

Women especially are taught to stay in their lane, and only do certain things. We’re taught it’s good to be ambitious, but not too ambitious. It’s good to speak up, but not always. It’s good to stand up for what you believe in, just be careful not to rock the boat too much. Wamback learned later in life it’s important to be true to yourself. It’s important to blaze new trails, and pick up where others left off in creating opportunities to help women––and men––excel in leadership positions.

Her call to all readers: awaken your inner wolf. Your wolf is your talent, power, dreams, voice, creativity, curiosity, courage, and dignity––it is your truest self. When you awaken who you really are and show up with authenticity, you will be the best leader.

“I was taught to keep my head down, stay on the path, and get the job done.” – Abby Wamback

Lead from the Bench

Old Rule: Wait for permission to lead.

New Rule: Lead now––from wherever you are.

Leadership doesn’t mean you have to be in a managerial position, a CEO, or hold a high title. Wamback teaches readers, we are all leaders in some aspect of our lives, and it’s our duty and responsibility to empower those around us.

Leadership can look like many things. In Wamback’s case, it meant cheering her team on full force when she was captain and benched in the 2015 World Cup (the one the USA won!) She speaks to how leading a team means leading in the moments when you’re not the star or the center of attention.

Passing on credit to your team on a big client presentation, that’s leadership. Giving encouraging words to a friend before a big interview, that’s leadership. Lending an ear to a colleague, that’s leadership. Leadership is not being in a high position of power, it is empowering others through kindness, empathy, and respect.

“Leader is not a title that the world gives to you––it’s an offering that you give to the world. You’re either a leader everywhere or nowhere.” – Abby Wamback

Bring It All

Old Rule: Lead with dominance. Create followers.

New Rule: Lead with humanity. Cultivate leaders.

Wamback speaks to her experience as co-captain for the U.S. women’s soccer team as a shift in leadership strategy. Prior to when Pia Sundhage was hired as coach, the old rule was in place. We’ve all seen it in the workplace, the top-down approach. Those with more years of experience are more important, and teach the less experienced. With Sundhage, everything changed. Wamback started to elicit ideas from everyone, rather than making pronouncements to everyone.

The difference? The U.S. women’s team started teaching each other things. The veterans were learning from the newbies. Everyone felt like a leader. 

Being a true leader means cultivating a community where others feel they can show up as their true self. It’s about clearing the path for future leaders, passing the baton with humility and truly leading by example. It’s difficult to bring it all, and show future leaders how to lead with bravery, compassion, and vulnerability––it takes courage. But it creates the best leaders.

Learn All New Leadership Rules in Wolfpack

To unlock all New Rules and Wamback’s unique perspective on leading yourself and your pack, Wolfpack should be your next read.

Wolfpack teaches us to come together, unleash our inner and collective power, and change the game––any game. Be it leadership, a soccer game, or life, Wamback’s Wolfpack is a pocket guide to living fully, living bravely, and leading with tenacity, fierceness, and kindness.

To hear more about Wolfpack, listen Abby Wamback speak to the rules of leadership with Brené Brown on this podcast episode. To read Abby Wamback’s Barnard keynote address––the first four New Rules and the foundation of Wolfpack––to the Class of 2018 at Barnard’s 126th Commencement at Radio City Music Hall, visit Barnard’s archives or listen here.

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Jenna Lally

As Marketing Strategist, Jenna crafts customized digital marketing strategies and cross-channel content to connect with diverse audiences.

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