I’ve been on the leadership track almost as long as I can remember. In fact, my brother and cousins called me “bossy,” and I was. I used to line them up to play school. I was the principal and the teacher, and I told them what to do.
Over the years, my tendency “to boss” worsened, especially when I was in college. I thought I knew everything about child psychology, raising a family and helping children thrive. I even had a plan to raise perfect children with zero problems. I bossed around my students’ parents and my brother, who got married and had children before me. Heck, I even told my parents how to improve their marriage.
And then, I tied the knot and had children of my own. That’s when I quickly realized I didn’t know diddlysquat. I had to learn how to be the right kind of boss while on the job. And these new principles that I learned over years of mommy boot camp? They work and can be applied to any kind of leader, whether at a huge company or simply at home with their kids. Here are some tips on how to be a great leader mommy-style.
- Get to know those you lead personally. No two are the same. What works for one won’t work for the other.
- Be firm and kind. The way you talk to them will become their inner-voice. Reprimand privately when needed and praise in public when deserved.
- Identify their language of appreciation. A team member may like a gift card, while another will thrive if they receive a rock star award. Get them backwards, and you’ll embarrass one and frustrate the other.
- Life is messy. Get used to it and stock up on “wet wipes.”
- Do what works for you and your team. You can’t follow every single theory word by word.
The most important leadership principle I have learned from motherhood is to love your team unconditionally. Sure, they’ll mess up, you’ll get frustrated with them and they will get frustrated with you. However, knowing you accept them and are there to help them grow will never be forgotten. Receiving thank you cards, phone calls, visits to the hospital or the funeral home will leave an indelible mark in their life. Love transforms, leading people into a joyful journey.
Question: How have you learned your best leadership lessons?