“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” – Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) is a huge loss to us all, regardless of sex, gender, race, or creed. As a lawyer and then Supreme Court Justice known for being a fighter, trailblazer, and advocate for women’s rights, RBG cared for all human beings while striving to create a world of equality and justice for everyone.

I have spent the past week reflecting on the passing of Justice Ginsburg. Beyond being a women’s rights icon and strong voice for equality, she was deeply curious, collaborative, and led with emotional intelligence. At the core of her leadership was strong self-belief, courage, and strength of character. Despite her apparent grit and tough exterior, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was often referred to as open, approachable, and fair.

The Great Dissenter

Known as “The Great Dissenter” by many, Ruth argued, objected, and rendered her opinions clearly and without insult to others. In a tweet entitled “Statement from the President on the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg”, Ruth was described as “a titan of law” and able to “disagree without being disagreeable”. Instead of having to make others wrong, she strived to find common ground and worked forward from there to create ground-breaking legal and social outcomes.

Dissents speak to a future age. It’s not simply to say, ‘My colleagues are wrong and I would do it this way.’ But the greatest dissents do become court opinions and gradually over time their views become the dominant view. So that’s the dissenter’s hope: that they are writing not for today, but for tomorrow. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

What was behind her ability to have her voice heard?

I have read many articles and books about RBG and seen the documentary and Hollywood movie showcasing her smarts, moral strength, fortitude, and unyielding determination to make a difference.

What seems to have not yet been as critically explored is her personal awareness, her ability to manage her emotions, and connect with others which allowed her to communicate her principles and values in such a way that she was respected and heard.

Ruth argued with thoughtful presentation and passion and disagreed civilly with hopes for a better future. She dissented with grace, humility, and articulated brilliance.

RBG also demonstrated great empathy that transcended gender, race, and political lines. She was known to have integrity and to consistently show up as her authentic self; she said what she meant and meant what she said.  

Rest in Power and Peace RBG

Fiercely resilient, Ruth underwent at least five recorded bouts of treatment for different cancers. She showed us what endurance and stamina look like. She was clear that she had no intention of retiring anytime soon and showed up for work with the same commitment each day as a lawyer or jurist.

With a mix of authority and humor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a champion for all and exemplified exceptional leadership by demonstrated influence; knowing when to lead through action, when to listen, and when to follow.

She has left a legacy that will continue to inspire across gender, race, and socioeconomic standing. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the heart of justice, will long be remembered and will continue to inspire for decades to come.

She’s the closest thing to a superhero that I’ve ever seen. The most formidable, awe-inspiring woman of my lifetime. – LinkedIn contributor   

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About the author

As a lifelong student of human behavior, a psychotherapist / family therapist turned organizational psychologist, Dr. Warren believes that a strong foundation of Emotional Intelligence (EI) builds great leaders, fosters employee engagement and creates great places to work. She has a wealth of knowledge and professional experience in the areas of collaboration, values-based leadership, coaching, and strategic business execution. Dr. Warren holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology and a Professional Post-Graduate Certificate in Leadership. She currently holds the position of Vice President of Leadership Development at the Institute for Health and Human Potential. ​Connect with me on LinkedIn!​​​