We live in a world where famous politicians, entrepreneurs, or film stars will tend to grab the news headlines. Little attention however seems to be paid to those who will truly shape the next generation: parents. There is no leadership more important than parenthood for both women and men. Our entire society could benefit from having more patience and cooperation, rather than speed and competition.
True leaders, like mothers, must give more than they receive.
If I think about my own family when I was growing up, my mother always ate last and I don’t really remember her ever sitting for long at the table. Compare this with the world of business, filled as it is with dominant egos and cut-throat politics, where genuinely giving for the sake of helping others and with no personal motive is rare. Never mind eating last, most of us are pushing ourselves in front of the dinner queue with the excuse of seeing others fill their plates as high as they can!
Being a leader requires stamina, tenacity, patience and compassion for others. Yet, as a mother, you have these skills embedded in your DNA.
I am someone who can easily turn into a workaholic when I get set on to new idea, but my children give me a purpose – a reason – to get home and enjoy the good things in life outside of work. My children also motivate me to show the best version of me – I can’t be a just ‘resource’ to them I need to be able to inspire them and to offer them a good environment for growth.
You grow as a leader when you turn motherhood into a springboard.
When I became pregnant with my first child I suddenly panicked thinking that there would be no way I would be able to both have children and achieve all my career ambitions. My own mother’s story – she had to give up on her own ambition for a university education – was resonating in my head. I had to re frame my own beliefs about motherhood and when I did it I had a big ‘aha’ moment – instead of seeing my busy day as a problem to be resolved I started to see it as a developmental springboard to become more assertive and decisive with my time.
Caring for my children helped me to become a more patient person, and someone better able to step back and see the big picture. I am now officially okay with chaos, uncertainty and volatility and this is exactly the context of the world we are living in these days, so to that extent having kids helps us to keep up with the pace of it all.
My invitation for you is to take a minute and reflect on the following:
Which leadership skills have you developed since you became a parent?