Recently, the Business News published a list of 11 traits of a leader. I want to walk you through them because I want to show you, and prove my point, that moms are leaders, too.
From Fortune 500 companies, to presidents, generals, and prime ministers, you may be tempted to think that a Mom doesn’t quite hold the professionalism to be listed as a leader.
If you think that, not only do I seek to change your mind with this article, but I also think it means you must not understand what it means to be a mom.
Every mom, and every leader, will have their own method of leading that is influenced by their environment, economic status, needs of their family members, location, and other things, but the values of leadership are just as true for a mogul brokering the next billion dollar deal as they are for a mom trying to get 6 kids to soccer practice on time while she responds to a business call without sounding like she’s being attacked by wild dogs in the background. (That’s actually an incredible feat.) The point is that sometimes leadership doesn’t wear a suit and tie. Sometimes leaders wear house slippers, blue jeans, and their hair in a top-knot, while they help one child towards their dreams, that can truly change the world.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. Let me show you what I mean:
- The pursuit of bettering your environment
We can go with the obvious one on this one and say: Its usually mom who coordinates the cleaning of the house. Whether you do it yourself, or you hire a service, what “clean” means to your home depends on mom deciding, and orchestrating, that goal getting met. Additionally, it’s usually the wife or mom in the house who decides which house is the right house, what car is the right car, and what kinds of sheets have the right thread count, or what food is the right to serve to your kids. It’s the moms who decide the parts of the environment. This is definitely an area where moms lead.
- Knowing your team and yourself well
No one knows the family like mom. Moms have a 6th sense about their team, their family, knowing their kids and their partner often better than the individual knows themselves. I will know when my son is hurt or needs help even if I am not in the same location as he is at the time. It’s uncanny. It’s a mom thing. Moms definitely lead in this area as well.
- Giving people the tools to succeed
Whether it’s training kids to use the right fork, how to take themselves to the bathroom, or it’s teaching them how to speak respectfully and how to process the pain from an argument or major loss, moms give their people the physical, emotional, and psychological tools they need to succeed at life.
- Open, authentic and positive influence
Anyone who has completed their first cardio workout in 6 months while two kids run in and around the workout area asking a million questions (mostly about snacks they want to eat) knows that a mom is just about the most authentic relationship you can know, and we are constantly open with our family. We are also a very positive influence (when you finally got on camera, you didn’t say “Hi, boss from that job!” did you? No. You said “Hi, mom!” because who was the postitive influence that got you on TV? You’re mom, of course.
- Clarity, confidence and courage
We don’t always have clarity as moms, but here’s a secret: Neither do many other global leaders. Clarity is fleeting, but confidence and courage moms know well. Anyone else panic when their kids try something new? Do you let them go off to summer camp praying with every step that they survive? Yep. Courage. That’s a mom.
- Building consensus and common goals
“What’s for dinner, mom?” Do I really need to explain this one? We don’t always call it “building consensus and common goals” as moms, or as parents, but it’s what we do. You take into account the preferences, strengths, weaknesses of the team members, along side the financial and environmental realities of your space, and you do what everyone can best agree on. That’s a leader. That’s a mom.
- Being the solution to problems
Anyone who has ever been at a restaurant and volunteered to trade dinner plates with their kid because the child just HAD to try that new dish they didn’t know if they would like, and when it arrived they hate how it tastes, so you as the mom offer to trade your steak dinner for their plate of what you hope is vegetable ragu, just because you want to make sure everyone has a nice dinner, so you sacrifice yours. That’s being the solution to a problem. That’s a leader. That’s a mom.
- Helping others achieve the impossible
Kid Says: I can’t learn to read, Mom, It’s too hard. With Mom: That kid is reading chapter books by 4th grade.
Kid Says: I can’t finish the game, mom, I’m too tired. With Mom: Scores the game winning goal.
Kid Says: I can’t paint the picture, I don’t know how. With Mom: Kid paints a beautiful picture that gets showcased in the local newspaper.
Spouse says: I can’t go up for that promotion, I don’t have enough experience. With Wife: Gets promotion and an increase in benefits.
That’s a leader. That’s a mom.
- Building the next generation of leaders
Whether you have your own kids, or you influence the lives of other’s children, you are raising up the next generation of leaders by setting an example for them. I cannot tell you how many life lessons I learned from what my grandmother and mom went through. How to have grace under pressure. How to respond when you’ve been done wrong. How to achieve your dreams when it seems like everything is against you. Your actions determine what your children and grandchildren will become because they will look to you for guidance. That’s a leader. That’s a mom.
- Building followership
This isn’t about making sure your kids follow you on twitter. This step is about harmonizing your people around a key vision. Your family has to have a direction, a purpose, and you set that tone as the mom. This is the place where you bring your kids around the values and ideals you set for the family.
- Actively listening
No one listens like Mom. Usually at 11pm at night, for hours, Moms will listen as kids (or spouses) talk about their goals, struggles, problems, worries, concerns, or aspirations. Moms don’t forget, either, they will remember what you told them and ask you about it, moving you forward.
That’s a leader. That’s a mom.
You don’t have to be a mom to be a leader, certainly, but I think moms and mompreneurs belong at the table of global leaders. We may not run Fortune 500 companies or broker multi-million dollar contracts for moguls and czars, but we lead, and the future Fortune 500 companies and global world changers depend on us leading well.
Are you ready to take yourself seriously as a leader?
Great leaders read. Whether you’re running a huge corporation or you are your own company of one, good leaders are not an accident. Good leaders work on their skills through intentional effort and one of the easiest ways to move yourself forward as a leader is to read great books. Learning from leaders who took the time to write down all that they know is like having a leadership coach on demand for the cost of a single book. If you want to move forward professionally, and lead your teams well, then join The Leadership Book Club. We will be the accountability you need to reach your reading goals this year, while providing world class perspectives from multiple industries that you won’t find anywhere else. Click the link to learn more.