Leadership and Motherhood

backbone heart lead by example May 11, 2019

While enjoying a Mother’s Day bike ride with my family, I spent some time reflecting on the ultimate leader responsibility; motherhood. Mothers lead with heart and backbone, and embody all of the best practices of leadership including leading by example, collaboration, inspiration, and calibration.

Mothers lead with heart by loving us for who we are and encouraging us to do our best. On the other hand, mothers lead with backbone. They tell it like it is because they love us, and don’t shy away from difficult conversations that are meant to serve our wellbeing.

A mother always needs to lead by example, even when she doesn’t want to. This can be as significant as modeling love and generosity, to as seemingly insignificant as choosing salad over french fries when out for dinner. Children are always watching and listening, and a mother knows that action speaks louder than words.

Another best practice of mothers is collaboration. Mothers are the hub of the family―understanding the system at hand, and the interplay between each important part. Mothers bring the family together which strengthens the family bond. Birthday cakes are a mothers sneaky way of bringing everyone together.

Mothers inspire us to be our best. Just one look at Facebook today and all of the heartfelt messages to moms about the way they have inspired our lives, is proof enough for me. When we need someone to listen, we turn to mom. When we need a shoulder to cry on, we turn to mom. And even when they are not 100% sure we are on the right track, mothers are still our biggest cheerleaders. And ultimately, their devotion to the family is what serves to inspire us to do the same for our families.

Like the ultimate leader, mothers help us calibrate to keep on track and achieve our goals. When we need a kick in the pants, our mothers push us out of our comfort zone into the unknown where new possibilities await. Mothers keep us on track, even when they don’t feel like they have the energy to ‘ask one more time’. They keep a mental tally of our wins and losses, and nudge us when we need nudging.

Like a servant leader, motherhood is not for the faint of heart but deeply rewarding and worth every moment when the needs and dreams of children are achieved.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom. You’re my model and inspiration to lead with heart and backbone.


About the Author

Sandra McDowell, MA, PCC, CPHR, SHRM-SCP

As the founder and voice behind eLeadership Academy™, Sandra McDowell helps leaders and organizations increase performance and well-being by leveraging insights from cognitive science to harness the untapped power of the brain.

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