Hello everyone.

Nancy Pelosi, first woman, first Italian-American and first Californian to lead a major party in Congress. (Source:Wikipedia)

Today let’s continue our look at the leadership qualities of Aries by looking at Aries Nancy Pelosi, the current Leader of the Minority Party in the U.S. House of Representatives and former Speaker of the House. And in honor of powerful women everywhere, I’ve gathered a photo gallery of woman warriors for you to enjoy.

First let’s review a few textbook attributes of the cardinal fire sign Aries.  (For citations and a more full description, see Aries Leadership – Let’s Get Started!)

What the experts tell us about Aries

  • The most important task for an Aries is to recognize that they have a separate, independent existence from the whole.  From the unity awareness of Pisces, Aries re-establishes the spark of the individual self.
  • All of the fire signs are likely to be lively, outgoing, action-oriented, and warm.  When challenged they can be hot tempered and determined.
  • Fire signs have a genius for enrolling others in their enthusiasms. They can be  inspiring leaders who know how to make things happen.
  • Cardinal signs posses an ability to set specific goals and to go after them with all the strength at their command.
  • Aries is perhaps the most cardinal of all the cardinal signs with its strong, vital energy.
  • Aries is the warrior/hunter archetype:  fundamentally aggressive, courageous, and risk-taking.
  • Aries seek constant challenges, big and small.
  • Aries becomes insecure if dealing with a string of failures.
  • Aries people are the high-energy, high-impact movers and shakers of this world.
  • Aries people want to get things started and to keep things moving, and they can come across as demanding and pushy.
  • Aries people will speak out for everyone, especially the underdog.

Britomart Redeems Faire Amoret by William Etty, 1833. (Source:Wikipedia)

Let’s see how Nancy Pelosi exemplifies the traits of Aries Leadership.

(Much of the material below was found in the book Nancy Pelosi and the New American Politics by Ronald M. Peters, Jr. and Cindy Simon Rosenthal.  The rest was gathered from Wikipedia, WikiQuotes, The New Yorker and The New York Times.)

  • Aries reestablishes the spark of the individual self. For Nancy Pelosi and many Aries there is a strong streak of independence, a penchant for swimming against the current.  Even though she came from an established political family steeped in Eastern-style liberalism, Pelosi always positioned herself as bringing a Western, entrepreneurial perspective to the Democratic Party.  She was the “outsider” running against the “Washington Establishment.”

    In the House of Representatives she was an outspoken critic of fellow Democrat President Bill Clinton on the subject of free trade and the World Trade Organization.  She was one of the few in Congress who opposed President Bush on the resolution to invade Iraq, and she declared her independence from President Obama from the beginning. She defined her own political persona rather than allowing it to be defined by others, including her family or political party.

  • Aries can be an inspiring leader who knows how to make things happen.   Much has been made of the loss of Democratic seats in the 2010 election under Pelosi’s leadership.  However as Minority Leader in 2006 she led the House Democrats to their first majority in 12 years.  Under her Speakership she tackled and passed legislation including health care reform, energy and environmental policy, restructuring the financial services industry, and addressing student loans, food safety, technological innovation, highway and transit funding, all amid a war and an economic disaster.

    Oil painting on silk, "Hua Mu Lan Goes to War." (Source:Wikipedia)

    She was also an excellent coalition builder, seeking as many cosponsors as possible for many bills.  She was known on Capitol Hill as a Speaker who went to extraordinary lengths to build bridges across Democratic Party divides and to foster consensus within it.

  • Aries seek constant challenges, big and small.   As the first female Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi reached the highest position of any female in United States history.  Third in succession to the President, she gained the seat amid the still-prevalent doubts in the U.S. about whether women are suited to the task of political and military leadership.  On her way to the seat she skipped over the “lesser” party offices for which female members of the house historically competed.

    Once she gained the Speakership she revamped the committee selection process and put herself in direct charge of committee assignments, the first Speaker to do so in over a hundred years.  Her current challenge, with the Democrats in the minority, is to unite the Caucus, move it to the center to gain seats in the next election, and focus on protecting Social Security, Medicare and health care reform.

  • Aries people are the high-energy, high-impact movers and shakers of this world.  Under Nancy Pelosi Congress spent more time in session, cast more votes, passed more legislation, and conducted more oversight hearings than the prior Republican-controlled Congress, while functioning as her Party’s leader and representing her San Francisco constituents.  The metaphor used for Pelosi to describe her energy and drive is the “Energizer Bunny.”

    She works from early morning to late at night and is famous for the efficiency with which she uses her time.  Over 70, staff members have to run to keep pace with her.

  • Aries is the warrior/hunter archetype:  fundamentally aggressive, courageous, and risk-taking.  Pelosi’s opposition to the Iraq invasion shouldn’t fool us about her Warrior energy.  Opposing the war on ideological principle, she took a political risk which most of her peers were unwilling to take.  Had the war been a success, her political rise would have been doomed.

    Bronze statue of Jeanne Hachette by Gabriel-Vital Dubray. (Source: Wikipedia)

    The Legislature itself is a battleground and it takes an aggressive personality to lead it.  One Speaker described it this way:  “Traditionally, legislatures have fostered the spontaneous generation of conflict and competition.  Members are taught to look out for themselves.  Protocol and titles are considered of central importance.  The victor in any given struggle is often the one who pushes the hardest and the longest.”

    The strategic acumen of the successful warrior comes through in Nancy Pelosi’s leadership style.  She is known as a shrewd legislator, able to reach compromise on important issues.  Against her party’s more passive style, she argues that the only way to defeat the Republicans is through active and aggressive leadership.  She is happy to debate the Republicans over values and to define the differences between the two parties rather than blur them.

    She has an instinct to go on the attack, which she demonstrated numerous times against President Bush and the Republicans.  Her “rally the troops” leadership style has led her to some of the lowest approval ratings of any member of congress and to be the particular target of negative campaigning by the Republicans in the 2010 election.  As the minority leader, she continues to challenge Speaker Boehner on issues such as the decision for the House to hire private lawyers to defend the Defense of Marriage Act cases after President Obama declared the Justice Department would no longer hear them.

    We learn from Pelosi that loyalty, collaboration, and coalition-building are also part of the warrior style.  Pelosi has been criticized for placing too high a premium on loyalty and at times it has worked against her.  She can foster unneeded conflict to defend those loyal to her.  But loyalty on a battlefield can mean the difference between victory and failure and Pelosi seems to understand this.  Her one aim is that the Democratic agenda be accomplished.

    Collaboration and coalition-building may seem at odds with the independent spirit of the Aries temperament but in studying Nancy Pelosi we understand that no battle is won with one warrior alone; it takes a regiment of committed soldiers to succeed.  She places a premium on listening, consultation, and consensus and her leadership on the Hill included numerous meetings:  planning strategy, consulting with members, debriefings, meetings with the Democratic Caucus, and at least three meetings a week with her leadership team.  One of her major goals was to keep the Democrats unified in their assault against the policies of the Republicans.

  • The Goddess Durga slaying the forces of ignorance. (Source:Wikipedia)

    Aries people will speak out for everyone, especially the underdog.  Nancy Pelosi’s political record shows her support of the disenfranchised including AIDS funding in the early years, health care reform, the first minimum wage hike in a decade, student loan reform, stem-cell research, etc.

    In 1991, on a delegation to Beijing, she challenged protocol by displaying a sign commemorating the Tiananmen Square massacre.  While the Bush administration urged quiet diplomacy, she argued for legislative restrictions to force the Chinese government’s hand.  She has become identified with the issue of human rights in China.

As with every leader we study, there is so much more that could be said about the Aries leadership style of Nancy Pelosi.  She is an excellent example of how the Aries energy can be applied to real-life leadership situations.  I’ll leave you with a quote from her that sums up her style and that of Aries:

“Think of me as a lioness- you threaten my cubs, you have a problem.”

For the first post on Aries Leadership, see Aries Leadership – Let’s Get Started!

For posts about Aquarius and Pisces Leadership styles, see the side bar “Leadership Through the Signs.”

For an Intro to Sun Signs and Leadership see this link to my other blog!

Do you have a question for Ellen? See the “Work with Ellen” tab at the top of this site for my Straight to the Point Response service.

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.