Yesterday, I asked the question: What is a mom’s most important work? And the answer is complex; often behind-the-scenes, moms are helping to shape the lives and character of their children. Their roles as leaders are obvious. These leadership lessons from moms can be good tools to put into practice for people who want to make a difference in their families, communities, or organizations.
Great moms (leaders) build a cohesive team. Teamwork is important in companies and families. To get things done, people need to work together well. Effective leaders facilitate teamwork by encouraging cooperation among people and departments. People who are proud of their company and their place in it work harder to achieve the company’s mission. Parents can promote a team mentality in their families by helping their children develop kind and caring relationships with each other and providing opportunities to work and play together.
Great moms (leaders) see and celebrate the best in their children (companies). A mom friend of mine whose son is struggling to adjust to preschool lamented to me recently, “It is so hard for me that others can’t see my son the same way I can: his creativity, his uniqueness, his spark.” A mother’s love trumps everything. A mother is a child’s most spirited cheerleader, most persuasive advocate, and most unwavering supporter. In this same way, great CEOs champion their companies and employees.
Great moms (leaders) multi-task. In order to get things done, moms become experts at doing more than one thing at a time. On any given morning, I might be preparing breakfast, packing sack lunches, overseeing my daughter as she finishes homework: all while carrying around a cranky toddler.
Great moms (leaders) are present in the moment. While both motherhood and leadership require juggling multiple tasks and responsibilities, they also demand the ability to shut out distractions and stay focused on a single task or person. My kids can tell when I’m not really paying attention. And employees can tell when their employers are not listening.
Great moms (leaders) make sacrifices. People making significant contributions to society through their leadership in business, politics, or education commit their time and energy wholeheartedly, often at the expense of other pursuits. In the same way, motherhood requires a woman’s complete devotion. Moms may slow down or stop their careers for a time. A mom’s sleep may be interrupted frequently beginning with pregnancy and continuing through her children’s early years and beyond. Moms give up their time alone, their tidy homes, and their own hobbies and interests. A mother’s sense of her identity and self image is often consumed by her role as a mom.
Great moms (leaders) let their children (companies) shine. My friend Carol is a successful educator and musician. She balances family life and career in a way that inspires me. The most remarkable thing about her, though, is her deference to her children’s energy, conversations, and activities.
Moms may seem overshadowed or eclipsed by the presence or achievements of their children. Leaders may seem to disappear in the bright light of their organization’s accomplishments. The best ones fade to the background willingly, knowing that true success is found in the influence they make in the lives of others.
This post was originally published at Mountain State University Leadertalk and is republished here with permission.