Mothers can be great leaders, and they often possess the tools to nurture passions–among them entrepreneurship.
Mothers assemble and run teams of people (i.e., the family unit), and they play an essential role in the development of the next generation of leaders. Everyone can learn from great mothers. Every leader should desire to develop people in similar ways so they can go on to lead successful lives based on the training received while under the influence of a great leader.
As an entrepreneur, I discovered invaluable lessons as I sat at the feet of my mother. The fundamental principles she taught helped me to start and launch a successful business as an adult.
I grew up in the Midwest with a diligent and hardworking mother, the youngest of the four sons. Although life was not always easy, I learned many leadership lessons from my mother as she worked, led the path at home, and raised us. From an early age, my mom repeated time and time again that there were five things every child needed to learn in order to be successful as an adult. These became known as my five life concepts for leadership.
Five essential life concepts for leadership
1. Leave places as good as you found them, but make them better if you can
My mother believed that every child needs to know how to clean up after themselves. As a child, I was taught that I was to be responsible for the messes that I made. I was to take ownership of my clutter and that I was always to put things back the way I found them, and make them better if I could.
This child-rearing concept is also a great leadership lesson. Entrepreneurs need to take ownership of their company, their people, and their customers. Every leader should share in the perspective to leave things better than when they started and to clean up the messes they have made in the wake of their leadership.
Q&A: What have you left undone and need to own in your organization?
2. Preparation is always the best process
My mother worked in the garment industry. She spent many hours working at her sewing machine. So one of her beliefs was that every child needs to learn how to sew. This little piece of advice has saved me many times on business trips. As a result, I always carry a sewing kit with me, so I can sew on a button and fix a tear in my clothes.
Similarly, every entrepreneur needs to look ahead and be ready for anything. Leaders should always be prepared for what is next and the unexpected. A leader must focus their attention on where the organization is going, how to get there and be ready to solve whatever problems they face.
A little preparation can make a big difference in many situations. This life concept is especially true in sales and the growth of the company. Leaders plan and prepare. When a leader is ready, possibilities and breakthroughs often follow. Every leader should recognize that preparation is always the best process for any situation.
Q&A: What are you doing today to prepare for the problems that you may face tomorrow?
3. Know the order of things
My mother taught each of her children how to cook. One of my favorite gifts from my mother is a book entitled, A Man, A Can, and a Plan. I still recommend this book to every beginning cook. The book is a set of recipes that any person can prepare using a canned good of some kind. The recipes in the book are good, but my mother’s advice was even better.
Every leader needs to think about processes and methods. Understand the recipe for success by knowing the order of how things go. Great leaders create routines and procedures that enable them to focus on their top priorities which lead to breakthroughs and further discoveries.
Q&A: What is the one routine you can create that will help you focus on your top priorities each day?
4. Self-care is essential for taking care of others
It was important for my mother that she taught each of her children how to practice self-care. She showed us the basics of life like how to do our own laundry and how to clean. She would remind us that cleanliness is essential. I believe she wanted us to know that no matter where we found ourselves in the future, we would be able to take care of ourselves by embracing the basics of life.
Every leader needs to know how to take care of themselves. Many leaders forget this essential task at their peril. If a leader does not take care of themselves, they will never be in a position to help others. Leaders need to focus on protecting their energy, their home life, and their health.
Q&A: What can you do to better protect your energy, home life, and your health?
5. Every person and task is significant, so everyone deserves respect
My mother taught me how to treat other people including other women. My mother is the toughest woman that I know. She worked hard to provide for her family. She raised four boys and would often joke and say that she raised my father as well. She worked hard jobs all of her life and never needed others to do for her, but was always doing for others. My mother was a role model for self-respect and how to respect others in all different situations.
My mother taught me how to treat other people including other women. My mother is the toughest woman I know. She worked hard to provide for her family. She raised four boys and would often joke and say she raised my father as well.
She worked hard jobs all of her life and never needed others to do for her, but was always doing for others. My mother was a role model for self-respect and how to respect others in all different situations.
Every leader needs to embrace the value of others. Many entrepreneurs fall into the trap of trying to do it all by themselves. No great company was every built by one person. Every leader needs to learn to respect every person in the company. In fact, sometimes the best ideas can come from unexpected places and people throughout an organization. Every person on your team deserves the respect of their leader, and every job is essential to the overall success of the team.
Q&A: How can you better communicate your respect and gratitude for your team as a whole?
Valuable lessons we learn from our mothers
I am very fortunate that I had a mother who taught me these life concepts and impacted my future as a leader. I love my mother, and I am proud that she is my mother.
Her foundational principles have guided me through life and helped me in various leadership situations. They were the foundation for helping me start and launch my business. I believe every leader would be wise to learn the five life concepts of leadership that I learned from my mother.
Ken Gosnell is the CEO and Servant Leader of CXP (CEO Experience). He serves leaders by helping them to have great experiences that both transform them and their organizations that enable to go further faster. He has worked with hundreds of CEOs and leadership teams to enhance strategic, operational and people accomplishments. He is an author, coach, and strategic partner with CEOs. Ken is the creator and facilitator of the Christian CEO Linkedin Group and creator of the CEO Experience Impact Assessment. He is married to Shonda, and they have four children. Connect with @ken_gosnell on Twitter.