With Mother’s Day around the corner (May 8, 2016) we at Community Vision are fondly pondering what we will do to recognize our Mothers this year.
What have you learned from your Mother’s about leadership?
When you think about it, being a parent is the ultimate test of one’s leadership skills. You have the awesome and sacred responsibility of guiding and shepherding young people through all the trials and tribulations of life into becoming positive and productive human beings – and contributing members of the human race.
Whether our Mothers were ideal or less than ideal examples as leaders, our first leadership lessons are most often learned in the home. Through our own Mother’s’ leadership example, we learn both what to do – and what not to do.
Like many of you, I was one of the fortunate ones who was blessed with a Mother who taught me a lot about effective leadership through words and deeds. Reflecting back, I have been fortunate to have a Mother who taught me lifelong lessons on leadership that still guide me and those organization’s I work with today.
I encourage you too to reflect back on the leadership lessons you have learned from your Mother’s. What have you learned from her example and how has it influenced your leadership today?
As a practical guide for all leaders and tribute to Mothers leadership examples everywhere; here are 8 Leadership Lessons learned from famous Mothers throughout history that we at Community Vision hope you too can apply as a leader.
- Leadership demands action.
Growing up, a phrase many I heard from my mom was, “When good does nothing, evil triumphs.”
Leadership demands action. Leaders have an obligation and duty to step up and stand for something. Yes, it’s much easier to complain, whine, and pout about the state of affairs… But what really does it accomplish?
Through a Mothers example of getting involved in a variety of community organizations, we learn that leaders have a bias for action. They get in the trenches to understand challenges so that they can be a part of the solutions to overcome them.
As the face of the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman fearlessly escorted more than 300 slaves to freedom and became an icon of the Civil Rights Movement. Tubman spent the rest of her life as an abolitionist and humanitarian.
- Leaders pour their hearts and souls into their people and their purpose.
Leaders are all about their people and their purpose. They invest themselves fully into their people and purpose – knowing that in the long run, all the time and energy will be worth it.
Leaders willingly subvert their own ego for their cause. They understand that their success is not measured in how well they do individually – but ultimately in how well their people do.
Angelina Jolie, apart from being one of Hollywood’s highest paid actresses, is also a mother with a spectacular resume.
Jolie has been a special envoy and goodwill ambassador for the United Nations and has received both Global Humanitarian and Citizen of the World awards. She also holds the record for the largest donation the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has ever received from a private individual, one million dollars.
- Leaders plant seeds of success.
Leaders invest the time to plant seeds of success in their followers. They create a positive vision of what people can become and continually encourage and nudge them along that path.
Olympias could have been the original project parent. And what a successful project it was. Mother to Alexander the Great, Olympias told him from an early age that he was destined to importance. Reminding him regularly of his supposed family ties to Achilles, and at one point declaring his true father to be Zeus, Olympias pushed Alexander into fulfilling his potential.
- Leaders hold people to a higher standard.
While great parents, coaches, and leaders are very loving, they also know that a big part of their responsibility is to hold people accountable. They are willing to take the tough, yet often unpopular stances for the good of their people.
Eleanor of Aquitaine had a talent for making kings. During her marriage to King Henry II, three out of five of their sons would go on to become royalty. Richard the Lionheart, King John of England, and Henry the Young King were all raised by Eleanor, but it wasn’t easy.
In 1173, some of her sons involved her in a plot against her husband, based on his suppressive and often cruel treatment of those under his rule. Ever the supportive mother, Eleanor pledged her backing… and was thrown in prison for ten years after they failed. Still, she went on to live until 80, with a defining royal legacy left behind.
What tough but unpopular stances did your Mother take during your childhood?
- Leaders value honesty and accountability.
Honesty and accountability are the hallmarks of great families, sports teams, businesses, and organizations. Without honesty and accountability, trust can never occur. And without trust, you cannot sustain long-term success.
Indira Gandhi was a polarizing political figure who worked tirelessly to achieve democracy in her native country, India. She led a movement known as the Green Revolution, which increased crop diversification and created jobs to address the problem of chronic food shortage among the poor.
- Leaders provide strength and hope during the depths of despair.
Life is filled with adversity and challenges. How did your Mother handle the inevitable adversities that came her way?
Cleopatra was a fan of a very effective form of diplomacy – tactical mothering. All four of her children were born to Roman diplomats, unstable family lives and at times life threatening changes in leadership made for much adversity. All four of her children helped Cleopatra ensure Egyptian independency for an extra 20 years. Her first son, Caesarion, faced numerous childhood challenges; was largely ignored by his father Julius Caesar yet ultimately ruled Egypt alongside Cleopatra by the age of ten.
- Leaders remember and appreciate the little things.
Leaders are tuned into the little things that make a BIG difference. They realize that it’s the little kindnesses you do on a regular basis that forge the strongest ties.
Anna Maria Jarvis, as the ultimate mother who inspired Mother’s Day, Jarvis began Mother’s Day Work Clubs in 1858 to improve health and sanitation conditions in an effort to prevent infant mortality. During the Civil War, the organization nursed soldiers from both sides, becoming a symbol of neutrality. In an effort to relieve post-war hostility, Jarvis rallied the members to organize a “Mother’s Friendship Day.” After she passed in 1905, her daughter Anna Jarvis made it her mission to get an official Mother’s Day created — which is how this modern-day holiday came to be.
- Leaders keep it all in perspective.
Finally, leaders are able to keep everything in perspective. They invest themselves fully but also are able to keep their priorities in order. As author Stephen Covey suggests, they spend their time on the important, not the urgent.
Successful parents, coaches, and leaders keep it all in perspective because they are able to separate the important from the urgent, and devote their time accordingly.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, better known as “Jackie O”, is perhaps best remembered for her sheer endurance. Married to President John F Kennedy and First Lady of the White House from 1960-1963, Jackie was famed for her sense of impeccable style and commitment to charitable work.
She lived through many public challenges and always remained calm cool and collected. She is forever associated with her pink Chanel suit and pillbox hat, worn the day her husband was assassinated. For many years a pink suit was the symbol of composed compassionate strength for women. Today pink is the symbol for perseverance and hope. Pink symbolically feminine and maternal is equated with strength.
Thanks to all the wonderful Mothers who value and embody leadership. As you set out to purchase a gift or token for your Mother, please remember that shopping on Amazon helps support Community Vision. Just use this link.
Community Vison wishes all Mothers Everywhere a very Happy Mother’s Day!