It’s that time of the year again.
Back to school,
college move-in and drop-off,
the end of summer.
Not only have both of my sons gone back to school, but my oldest is preparing to graduate in December and begin his life as a young professional. I still haven’t accepted that he is in his final year of college, especially when I feel younger than ever!
I have been absorbing the countless pictures on facebook and posts about the emotions that come with dropping kids off at college, and I can’t help but reflect on the parenting journey; and even more so about the journey of motherhood.
At the same time, I am doing more and more organizational and leadership development, with a focus on agile, resilient and inspirational leadership; and what I have come to realize is that motherhood and the mastery of strong leadership, are essentially the same thing.
So I’m just going to say it…
Most mothers today have not mastered the skills necessary to be the kind of parent our children need most.
And I know in my heart it is not because they don’t want to, it is because they simply don’t know how…they have never been taught.
The following are ten characteristics of agile, resilient and inspirational leaders and are the same characteristics that we, as mothers, need to master to be the kind of parents we are not only meant to be, but that our children desperately need to become the happy, healthy and whole people we hope they will grow into.
Passion for and focus on mission and vision
They have a strong vision for what they want to create and an even stronger commitment to it. They don’t let distractions pull them off of their path to achieving it.
Curiosity and innovative
They seek information, knowledge and the expansion of their mind, body and soul. Through their curiosity they are able to tap into their creativity and desire to innovate.
Active listening and inclusion
They want to listen and know how to actively engage in it; they encourage the inclusion of their peers, clients, colleagues and employees.
They act with honor and integrity, at all times, as they recognize that they, through their behavior and actions, set the tone, culture and expectations for those around them. They know that they are role models and take that responsibility seriously.
They consistently seek out feedback on their own performance and take action to improve it. They recognize that the quality of their team, their work and their success is only an extension of the work they do on themselves. They devote time, energy and resources to personal development…they invest in their own growth.
They embrace the challenges and obstacles that life inevitably brings and welcome it as an opportunity to strengthen their resilience.
Take risks and value failure
The recognize that taking calculated and strategic risks and allowing for failure is how we all find our courage and grow. Failure is seen as a commitment to excellence and a willingness to step into potential.
They know that communication clarity is critical to developing strong relationships. The exercise strategic, intentional, clear and kind communication with everyone they encounter.
They are not only aware of their own emotions, but they also have an awareness of the emotions of those around them. They choose what they want to say and how they want to act in response to what they observe.
They are flexible and pivot when necessary. They recognize that things don’t always go as planned and they are always ready to change course in order to achieve the best possible outcome and results.
The best leaders inspire greatness.
I know how much you love your children, and that you sometimes believe that the more you love them, the more you “sacrifice” for them, and the more you go out of your way to focus on them and their needs, the better off they will be.
But that is not actually true.
If you think that leadership development is only for working, corporate or executive women, you are mistaken. Being a mother and parent is the most important job you will ever have, and will require that you focus on improving your personal performance each and every day.
Your children’s lives depend on it.