Leadership Lessons from Mom
This Sunday is Mother’s Day and we will set aside time to celebrate our mothers. Motherhood is often a thankless and tiring endeavor. It’s easy to take for granted the years of sacrifice, hard work, and love that mothers contribute to our lives.
In many ways, mothers (including mine) are the ultimate image of servant leadership in action. They are always putting the needs of others ahead of their own. Mothers have the best interests of their children and will often go to great lengths to help them grow, develop, and succeed in life. They are able to harmonize the polarities of unconditional love and tough love, and do so in such a way that their children always know that mom has their back. Mothers are simply amazing leaders — especially mine.
Reflecting back, I am so fortunate to have a mother who taught me lifelong lessons on leadership that still guide me in all that I do. So this post is a tribute to my mother, Evelyn.
Leaders pour their hearts and souls into their people and their purpose
Leaders invest themselves fully into their people and purpose; knowing that in the long term, all the time and energy will be worth it. Leaders willingly subvert their own ego for their cause. They understand that success is not measured in how well they do individually; but ultimately in how well their people do. To this day, at 89 years of age, my mom feels that her most important job is to be a mother. Whether it’s her way of taking the lead aka “my treat” at a restaurant, giving her motherly advice, or being there when you really need her like sitting with you at your daughter’s chemo treatment. Her role as mother, continues to extend well beyond her grandchildren to include the lives of extended family and friends.
How are you pouring yourself into your people and purpose?
Leaders plant seeds of success
Leaders invest the time to plant seeds of success in their followers. They create a positive vision of what people can become and continually encourage them along that path. My mom provided me with fertile soil to explore my personal and business interests while finding my own purpose as a mother. Her belief in me and my personal greatness is certainly far more compelling than my own.
What seeds of success are you planting in those you are leading?
Leaders remember and appreciate the little things
Leaders know that the little things do make a BIG difference. They realize that it’s the little acts of kindness you do consistently that shape the strongest connections. Until recently, my mom demonstrated this in the cards she’d send for virtually every occasion. My mom would spend hours at the local Hallmark card store pursuing “just” the right card. You could always count on the birthday, anniversary, and many holiday cards from mom. Usually in a scotch-taped envelope with a paper clipped check or cash. A simple act of kindness that means so much and shows how deeply she cares about us.
What little things are you doing as a leader for your team, family, or company?
Leaders provide strength and hope during the depths of despair
How do you handle the inevitable adversities of life? In the past 30 years, my mom has survived the passing of her husband (my father) and all six of her siblings and their spouses. Yet the most tragic loss was her granddaughter (my daughter.) Despite these tragedies and age-related impairments, my mom remains a pillar of strength, resilience, and hope. She is an example that the human spirit can survive anything. And we must “press on.”
How do you provide strength and hope to your team, family, or company when adversity hits?
Happy Mother’s Day!