Why Moms Make The Best CEOs
Two of the most challenging but rewarding accomplishments a person can undertake are to raise a family and to start her own business. Both are full commitments that demand a healthy dose of perseverance, patience and love. Doing one or the other can be complex enough, but plenty of entrepreneurial-minded moms willingly elect to do both — and they couldn’t be happier about it.
While parenting is not the only way to acquire management wisdom, it does accomplish that, too. A top-notch CEO’s leadership profile is remarkably similar to that of excellent parents: They both provide stretch challenges, set high expectations and help individuals learn to act and think independently, while still holding them accountable.
Such similarities are present because parenthood may be one of the most basic forms of leadership. On balance, you can’t fire your children, and they do not report to you. The minute they outrun you, it’s hard to compel them to compliance. Instead, they should willingly follow your lead. Parenting, like strong leadership, requires us to exert influence while practicing control sparingly.
Here’s how to harness the power of parenthood into business leadership:
Moms Are Intuitive
Being a mom taught me how to listen to my child’s needs and harness my intuition. This is one of the most crucial leadership skills in business. How often do CEOs need to make a pivotal decision that comes down to their gut instinct? Frequently. Many moms have that “momma bear” instinct that they cannot deny and which allows them to make decisions that could make the deal or break the deal.
The Relationship Is Important to Them
Women tend to understand the importance of establishing relationships, rather than just hitting the numbers. Business is about relationships. Too often, leaders focus on the spreadsheet or the money, but empires and legacies are created within relationships. If you treat your clients like you would your child, you will always have referrals and returning clients.
Manage Different Talent
As a parent, you do not get to choose your team. Certainly, one would prefer to raise a bunch of smart people, each having an Olympic-level athletic potential and runway model looks. The role of a parent is not to conform their children to some unachievable ideal, but to help them grow their own strengths and improve their weaknesses.
The workplace is the same. Some corporate managers have the luxury of creating a dream team. More commonly, managers are asked to raise wisdom from a group of inherited staff, an occasionally unruly cross-functional team. The duty is to make the most of their capability by growing and multiplying the intelligence of their current team.
While the scope of motherhood can at times feel difficult, it strengthens mental dexterity. We have to learn how to be flexible and have great communication skills based on the psychological needs of our children.
Furthermore, the continuous learning, relearning and learning of motherhood is the ideal preparation for managing and working in what is known as “VUCA environment,” which refers to one of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. Such environments need situational readiness and heightened awareness, as conditions can change quickly, surprises lurk around each corner and mistakes are so easy to make — causing many professionals and managers to feel underprepared. In such environments, it is not what a person knows, but how fast they can learn that counts.
Weathering The Ups And Downs
A great many startup founders find entrepreneurial life to be a roller coaster. There’s one day in which you get an amazing review in the newspaper or a huge business opportunity presents itself, and the next day, a stakeholder backs out. You can go from flying so high to contemplating throwing it all away. However, successful CEOs don’t give up.
While a startup creator always has the option to give up, a mother never gives up that job title: one day your child makes a simple card at school that makes you weep with joy, and the next day they destroy the whole house just before the mother-in-law arrives to visit. Nevertheless, mothers don’t shut them out. Motherhood prepares the headstrong CEO to weather the storm with every new challenge that arises.
Separating True Crisis From Mere Chaos
To keep a family grounded, moms learn to identify a true crisis over ordinary chaos. They realize faster than most that if it is not bleeding, burning or broken, it’s not a crisis. For working moms, this focused understanding gets applied to work too. They learn to work in crisis and disregard much of the daily friction and concentrate exclusively on top priorities and burning issues. When this is applied to the workplace, leaders can easily see what is a true crisis or what is a simple problem that is being taken out of context. The strongest leaders — and moms — can make the right decisions on how to handle employees or try scenarios.
Putting The Ego Aside
The best CEOs are hardworking, resourceful and smart. These traits can sometimes translate into egos that can become annoying and arrogant. As the person managing the family, moms know that being smart isn’t about being right. It’s like when in team meetings, there will be times when it’s worth fighting to win a discussion and instances where backing down serves the long-term interests best.
If you are a mom, tap into your innate ability to run your business like you run your family. Treat your clients like they are your children: Give them attention and care, and be fair always. If you do the same for your employees, you will always have a thriving business. A happy mom is a healthy home — and a happy mom is a valuable business asset.