In a previous blog post, I told you all about my youthful obsession with Greek mythology. I started with Zeus, the iconic CEO of Mount Olympus Inc. But behind every powerful, wrathful Greek god, there’s sometimes an even more wrathful goddess.
If Zeus is the CEO and President of Mt. Olympus, then his wife Hera is the Senior Vice President who also sits on the Board of Directors.
Never Sleep with the Boss Unless He’s Your…: Well, let’s be honest – some women enhance their status by marrying a powerful man at just the right time. Hera was smart enough to avoid the fate of Zeus’s first wife, Metis, (um, yeah – Zeus drank her) by biding her time. When finally she bedazzled Zeus with her maidenly beauty, Hera wouldn’t go all the way until he made her his wife and queen.
But there’s something more you need to know. Remember in the 1983 movie Scarface how unnaturally obsessed Tony Montana (Al Pacino) was with his sister Gina (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio)? Well, in this case, Hera is the one obsessed with Zeus, and yes, she’s his “sees-ter.” Family-run businesses can certainly benefit from a woman’s touch. But it might be best to avoid following Hera’s troubled example…
Hera Was All for Helping Women Achieve Their Goals…: Hera was the goddess of marriage and childbirth. She was quite caring toward those Grecian ladies praying in one of her temples for a hunky Greek warrior or little bundle of Greek joy of their own. In business, emulating Hera’s nurturing qualities can be a good thing. Guide your young (or new) employees well and encourage their professional growth.
…Unless They Were the Object of Zeus’s Roving Eye: Of course, every leader has a weakness. Hera was a deity whose jealous rage could rival Darth Vader’s “dark side.” If you were one of the hapless lovelies who caught Zeus’s wandering thunderbolt (or were the result of his Olympic affection), oy vey. Hera would have made a wonderful Inigo Montoya, for her specialty was revenge.
Never mess with a goddess’s man. If you do, you risk being driven temporarily insane (like Heracles, son of Alcmene), roaming the world as a white calf while a gadfly pursues you (like Io), or burning to death by thunderbolt (like Semele). Ye gods!
Peacocks and Pomegranates Bring Out the Best in a Tempestuous Leader: Don’t assume the “vain” bird correlates to Hera’s fabled beauty. It’s her maternal watchfulness that is represented by the many “eyes” in a peacock’s tail feathers. A somewhat unexplained symbol is the pomegranate, which Hera is shown holding in many illustrations. So, keep an eye on your employees with as much care as Hera did regarding her worshipers. But maybe, steer clear of the pomegranate martinis when socializing after work.
Let’s be fair to Hera. She was a powerful, well-loved goddess who was interpreted by quite a few ancient Greek men as an overly-suspicious shrew. Somehow, this doesn’t seem too far off from a contemporary analogy. You know – the one about an aggressive male professional as strong, decisive executive material, but an assertive businesswoman as the dreaded shrill, power-hungry harpy.
Do you think Hera’s leadership style is more positive than negative? How might you relate to Hera’s leadership profile? If you leave a comment, I promise not to transform you into an animal or drive you crazy…
Lori Shapiro is the owner of By All Writes LLC, a business writing, editing, and research company in Marlton, New Jersey. She revels in shielding her clients from the pain of writing their own print and web marketing copy. Call her (856-810-9764) or email her (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a no-obligation project quote today!