Unleashing Your Inner Leader: Insights from the Barbie Movie  

As an undeniable “Barbie Girl,” my childhood was filled with an abundance of Barbies — more than any little girl could need. Greta Gerwig’s upcoming Barbie movie had me eagerly anticipating a campy, silly film, that was bound to have me in stitches; What I received was so much more.  

After our girls’ movie night, I was caught in a whirlwind of emotions – laughing, crying, and thoroughly grateful to be part of the enchanting, pink-filled audience. However, beyond the delightful entertainment, the movie also left me feeling inspired by its profound insights on leadership. Here are the invaluable leadership lessons Barbie left me with this past weekend: 

You’ve earned your accomplishments 

In the very beginning of the film, “Celebrated Author” Barbie receives an award, and states, “I worked really hard for this, and I deserve it.” It seems like such a simple statement but as someone who is currently on their leadership journey it reinforced that I need to embrace my achievements 

When you embrace your achievements you foster confidence, empowerment, and positive role modeling. Women leaders facing unique challenges and biases can reinforce their self-worth and competence by acknowledging and celebrating accomplishments, debunking stereotypes. This inspires other women to pursue leadership, promoting gender diversity and equality. Celebrating successes bolsters women leaders’ determination to shatter glass ceilings, build supportive networks, and lead authentically, fostering a more inclusive and equitable future. 

With resilience, you can overcome any adversity 

Once Barbie reaches the “Real World” we’re introduced to Gloria, a character inspired by a real-life Mattel employee, who truly embodies resilience against adversity. Throughout the film, Gloria pushes Barbie to overcome even when all seems lost. Her emotional monologue about the struggles women face in the real world is the key to helping restore (and ultimately to improve) BarbieLand. 

In the face of adversity, resilient women leaders, like Gloria, demonstrate strength, determination, and a refusal to be defined by limitations imposed upon them. This resolute attitude not only inspires their teams but also sets a powerful example for aspiring women leaders, encouraging them to break barriers and aim higher. 

Emotional intelligence (EI) is just as important as logic (IQ) in decision making  

Barbie’s journey in the movie is truly a remarkable display of emotional agility. Having only felt positive emotions up to this point, Barbie must navigate the range of human emotions on her journey. Only when she accepts them, does she have the ability to pick herself up, brush herself off and help lead the Barbies on their journey to restore BarbieLand.  

EI helps women leaders connect with others, foster relationships, and navigate complex dynamics. With empathy and active listening, they create an inclusive work environment, leading to better collaboration and team performance. Emotional intelligence also aids in handling conflicts with grace and making well-thought-out decisions, considering both data and emotions. It allows leaders to balance rationality with empathy, leading to authentic leadership and a positive workplace culture. 

As Lawyer Barbie says in the trial scene of the movie, “I have no difficulty holding both logic and emotion at the same time, and it does not diminish my powers. It expands them.” 

I hope the themes in this movie can inspire you to embrace your accomplishments, foster resilience, and promote inclusivity in your life. By doing so, you’ll not only reach new heights on your leadership journey but also motivate others to lead, innovate and inspire change.