Many years ago my mother told me I should get a cat because it would teach me to look after myself better. So I did. I learned a lot from raising a cute fur ball to become a tenacious, overly confident cat that would pick fights with dogs.
Same theory applies to motherhood (of the human kind). It teaches you a lot about leadership.
Yes motherhood teaches you soft skills like unconditional love, patience, time-keeping and extreme hygiene. But it helps you master skills that carry into the Boardroom.
Let’s start with negotiation… Being a Mum enables you to separate the essential from the non-essential and to bargain your way up from ground zero. When juggling motherhood and career, things like shopping, wine and movie time (and basic self-grooming) are all negotiated with as much precision and planning as a multi-million dollar deal.
Project Management. I did schedule my birth by C-section but soon learned that absolutely everything else had a dependency on multiple other factors. Also, my attention to risk assessment sharpened. I can assess the readiness of any product launch as quickly as I can assess the safety of a hotel room for a crawling infant.
Problem solving skills. One pertinent question for any interview should be….If you were out in public and your child did a number 2 and you had no nappies, wipes or change-room what would you do?
Extreme multi-tasking, maintaining a single conversation in a room of 100 screaming toddlers, operating with as little as four hours of sleep a night for three months, and sneaking to the loo in the middle of the night without light or making the slightest sound are all things mothers master.
But on a more serious note. Leading a team through change, scenario planning for a crisis, managing upward, sideward and forward – is what motherhood has helped me improve in my business life.
Just as I lead my family on everything from meal plans, holidays and clothing through to financial planning and making life-changing decisions, I lead my work team to be a switched on happy high-performance machine.
I am part of a leadership team that shoulders revenue and market share. I know what’s important and what’s not. I know when to fight and when to let go… when to speak up and shut up.
Sometimes the best leaders are mothers. Not just because we can problem solve on the fly, multi-task and demonstrate high EQ, but rather motherhood simply teaches you to take full accountability and responsibility for others unconditionally through thick and thin.
If only Motherhood was a recognised skill. Last count of my LinkedIn, endorsements were:
• Corporate Comms – 75
• Strategy – 46
• Motherhood – nil
*Please note. The word motherhood can be replaced throughout with ‘parenthood’ because there are some crack-ace dads out there acquiring the same leadership skills exactly the same way!