Being a working mother is not always an easy gig! There’s a fine line between perfection (balancing a stimulating career whilst enjoying the many delights of motherhood) and disaster! In our house hold, that fine line is usually overstepped with the illness of a child, a last-minute timetable change at the nanny, or me travelling too much…
This Mother’s Day, let’s celebrate the immense value that our roles as mothers bring to our role as leaders.
1) The importance of role modelling
As a leader we are ‘a role model always on duty’. (Thank you to Muffy Hand for that fabulous expression.) The same is true for parenting.
Sometimes I recoil at an attitude or tone of voice used by one of my daughters, only to be even more confronted when I realise they are mimicking me.
When I work with an executive team concerned that then next level of leadership are not working collaboratively across the silos, I know that the work will typically need to start with executive team! People don’t do what we say, they do what we do.
2) There is no one strategy for success
When kids don’t respond, you need to try another strategy… And another… And another… ‘Leading’ kids requires behavioural flexibility.
Leading any team is the same – behavioural flexibility is the key. If you’re not getting the results you want, try another strategy.
3) Find the fun!
Watch kids playing (and by “playing” I mean no screens, no structured activity and is no adult intervention – just playing) and you see curiosity, imagination, and a sense of fun. Any simple activity can become an adventure.
Recently I worked with their leadership team, and one person reflected to have colleagues: ‘I feel like we’ve lost the joy. We are all so busy achieving that there is no enjoyment in what we do, there could be.’
Mothers of young kids get to see curiosity, imagination and fun in action every day at home. Bring that sense of fun to your leadership.
Leadership. Motherhood. Both are hats I love to wear. And both hats teach me something about wearing the other hat more comfortably and effectively.
And just in case you sometimes feel like you’re doing a lousy job in both roles, know that you are not alone! Most of the leaders I work with who are also parents, admit that at times they feeling like they are failing with all hats. When that happens, acknowledge the observation, let it go, and focus on the role in front of you at the moment. You’re doing fine!
Being a mother develops our leadership! On the tough days, just remember that!