These days, more and more women are being thrust into leadership positions. The strengths traditionally attributed to women (and specifically mothers) are being recognized for the value they bring to the business world.
“When I was researching my book about the secrets of successful women, I realized something amazing (but not surprising),” says Dr. Nancy D. O’Reilly, coauthor of Leading Women: 20 Influential Women Share Their Secrets to Leadership, Business, and Life. “All moms are leading women. Whether a mother works outside the home or not, nowhere are her leadership skills more apparent than when she parents her children.”
If you’re considering adding a mother to your management team, here are four more reasons a mother is the best person for the job:
Mothers are excellent connectors
In business, the custom of exchanging business cards rarely leads to a meaningful connection. That could be because each person wonders how the other can be useful to him. Lasting connections occur when both parties work to accomplish things together. “Women know that connection and collaboration, not competition, are best for everyone,” explains O’Reilly. “Reciprocity and the genuine desire to help are at the heart of these connections.”
Mothers seek collaboration
The ability to collaborate with others leads to success in business and in life. But collaboration doesn’t happen all by itself. It requires leaders who can accurately read others’ emotional cues and ensure fairness. “All of these are feminine skills, and mothers use them every day at home as we rally the troops to keep the house clean, cook dinner together, run a family business, or have fun during family game night,” O’Reilly says.
Mothers are tough
Female business leaders are often praised for their resilience and ability to weather difficult times. They are able to not only learn from the missteps of themselves and others but turn attention to how projects can be salvaged using the resources at hand. “Every mother knows what this is like,” O’Reilly notes. “We’ve been through all kinds of struggles with our kids, yet we don’t give up on them. We come to see, just by living and mothering, that ‘this too will pass,’ that life is a work in progress, and that the most frustrating challenges can lead to the most fruitful outcomes.”
Mothers know how to ask for help
Most mothers are not lone wolves. They tend to place the greater good (their departments, employees and family) above their own egos. Women instinctually know that making the best use of others’ talents is often the quickest, most efficient way to get the job done. “Women don’t feel diminished as individuals when we enlist the aid of others — quite the opposite!” says O’Reilly.
Even in the modern, enlightened business world, career and motherhood are sometimes seen as mutually exclusive, explains O’Reilly. “By seeing mothers as leaders whose parenting experience can translate profitably into the professional realm, all of us — moms, families, and organizations — stand to gain tremendously.”
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