Just in time for Mother’s Day, here’s our top 10 list of leadership skills and behaviors we can learn straight from the moms who know best.
Mothers come in all shapes and sizes, with just as many personality types. And whether they’re biological, or simply a mother figure who positively influences those around them, the leadership skills and behaviors they model – and the lessons they teach us – can be applied in the work place.
Actress Robin Wright said, “My mother gave me a sense of independence, a sense of total confidence that we could do whatever it was we set out to do. That’s how we were raised.” Imagine if team leaders and company executives did the same thing. What if, as an effective leader, you could instill confidence and independence in your colleagues to the extent that they confidently created, produced and developed with hesitation?
In honor of Mother’s Day, here are our top ten awesome leadership lessons and behaviors we can learn from the best.
1. The Golden Rule.
Treating others in the manner in which you want to be treated is one of the basic foundations on the playground, and is certainly one of the first things mothers teach. In other words, everyone (including yourself) deserves dignity and respect. It’s too bad that, by the time we get into the work force, many leader-wanna-be’s have forgotten this. Bullying, intimidation, and a host of other bad behaviors simply don’t work.
2. Not in my house.
Strong mothers know what is and isn’t acceptable in their own home; they have clear personal values (“We will have family time this weekend, or else …). Similarly, strong leaders have developed their own business philosophy and personal values that are reflected in everything they do. When you know who you are, you can be consistent and confident in your decisions and strategies.
3. What do you think?
Mothers are pros at handling feedback (whether they ask for it or not). That’s how they learn about and from their children. That’s how they know what motivates each child, regardless of their personality. And that’s how they know what is or isn’t working. Good leaders regularly ask for feedback and welcome opportunities to grow and adjust in order to get the best results from the team.
4. Do as I do.
A smart mom knows that kids are watching her every move. If she displays kindness and patience, her children will learn those behaviors too. I mean, she can’t expect her kids to clean their room if she never picks up after herself. In the same way, powerful leaders set the example for what they expect from others. Want a punctual team? You need to be at meetings on-time (or early). Want enthusiasm? Make sure you have it too. See how that works?
5. I promise. Really.
There’s nothing worse than a mom saying, “Next summer we’re going to Disneyland!” only to drop the subject and never mention it again. It leaves a kid feeling deflated, disappointed, and maybe even suspicious. If a leader continuously makes promises or commitments, and then fails to follow through, teams will feel deflated, unmotivated and apathetic. Or worse. It’s simple: do what you say you’re going to do.
6. Your turn.
“Mom! She hit me!” “But mom, he started it!” It’s the classic sibling fight, but savvy moms know there are always two (or more) sides to every story. And so do good leaders. Actively listening to diverse points of view, and being open to varied suggestions, perspectives and input, not only improves decision-making, it also helps team members feel like they are important – that they matter.
7. Look at the bright side.
No matter how much planning and preparation is involved, sometimes things just don’t work out. For instance, have you ever gone on a family vacation to the beach and it rained every single day? And most likely it was your mom who came up with a backup plan. “Well then … we’re building a fort and having an indoor picnic!” Strong leaders know that sometimes things don’t go as planned, and expect the unexpected. When that happens, they are able to reflect on the experience and learn valuable lessons for the future.
8. Just imagine!
“This summer we’ll plant a beautiful garden, and you can pick out the seeds. It will grow and be colorful and glorious!” Moms know how to help kids imagine their future, whether it’s in a week, a month, or years down the road. And so do leaders. By describing compelling images of what the team or company’s future can be like, leaders provide focus and a common goal or purpose.
9. You’re better than that.
Moms have the ability to see us for who we are now, and who we are becoming. They see our potential, in spite of our mistakes or weaknesses. They are able to tell us, “You’re better than that,” when they know we are not living up to our true potential. In the same way, leaders have a great deal of trust and confidence in the individuals and teams that they lead, even when mistakes are made. They are able to appeal to others and share an exciting vision of the future.
10. We’re in this together.
Moms have your back, and she knows how to get everyone on the same page. Whether it’s discussing what classes need to be taken in order to graduate from high school, or insisting you do something you just don’t want to do, she is able to show how your long-term interest can be realized by enlisting a common vision. She knows that she is instilling values in you and helping you do your very best. In the same way, respected leaders challenge us to stretch beyond our capacity. And when push comes to shove, they always have our backs (and they can trust we have theirs, too).
I am especially grateful for my mom, Beverly Garcia, for all that she taught me and the values that she instilled in me. Thanks Mom. I love you!
What do you think?
These are just some of the many lessons we can learn from awesome moms, but we know there are lots more. As you celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend, are there any more that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear what a special woman or mentor in your life taught you about leadership. Leave your comments below.
And if you’d like to know more about leadership development and team building, or you want to hone your leadership skills, contact us today. We can help.