Successful Leadership: 10 Lessons We Learned From Mom

Written by Jay McDonald on .

Successful leadership is everywhere. From national corporations to the neighborhood deli, great leaders shine like bright lights – and they almost always stand behind successful businesses. So where does all this inspiration and greatness come from? Sure, there are books on leadership, leadership classes, even seminars and retreats designed to foster exceptional leadership. But in many cases, some of the most fundamental qualities we need to become great leaders were learned well before we set foot in any organization. Here are ten lessons from my loving mother that are central for any success that enjoyed by me…and perhaps include many lessons learned from your own mother. No. 1: Courage In the face of uncertainty and despair, who buckled up those boot straps and forged ahead? Mom. She taught us that courage in the face of just about anything was the right course of action, and she was right. Without complaining, blaming others or hesitation, mom forged ahead, courageous and proud. No. 2: Integrity I can still hear mom’s words, “Do the right thing, even when it’s difficult”. Integrity and truthfulness are traits many leaders today lack and one that will eventually separate the great leaders from those who place less of a premium on honesty.  Sadly, we see this in many political officials today. No. 3: Sacrifice What does real sacrifice entail? Going without for the good of another? As leaders, there are plenty of opportunities for sacrifice, whether it’s for the sake of the team, an individual employee or organization wide.  Self-sacrifice is the hallmark of unselfish leadership. No. 4: Faith Mom displayed unwavering confidence and assurance in her family. Having faith in your team, knowing that they are doing the right things, in the right way, builds trust.  The expression:  The sum of the parts is greater than the whole, is true in both life and business. No. 5: Respect Moms let us in on a little secret: “Everyone puts their pants on one leg at a time”. Respecting every individual in the organization from the front line to the boardroom reinforces the partnership mentality and fosters a sense of belonging. No. 6: Continuous Learning Excellence is driven by an acute curiosity to learn and mom encouraged us daily to be our best. And that’s precisely why reading, training, workshops and mentorships are the key to staying competitive and maximizing talent. No. 7: Unconditional Love Moms need no introduction when it comes to love. As leaders, while we may not feel the same sense of adoration for our organizations, we have to be passionate about what we do. Loving our work keeps us engaged, fulfilled and happy.  In the same sense, we must love our employees, our customers, and each and every stakeholder that contributes to our success. No. 8: Strength Mom stood strong in the face of adversity, protecting what she believed in with heart and soul. Having conviction and sharing that sense of strength builds a unity that successful leaders have learned to harness. No. 9: Kindness Unpleasant behavior serves little purpose and can actually detract from honest, open dialogue. Even when delivering bad news, being kind is a sign of respect and an opportunity to help others meet or exceed their own expectations. No. 10: Giving Back Generosity of spirit and a sense of responsibility to help others will forever define the world’s greatest moms. As leaders, we can continue this legacy through mentorship programs and opportunities to share knowledge, experience and help. Mom taught many of us the lessons we use each and every day as leaders. Whether she worked out of the home, in the home, or not at all, she was and will always be the first official CEO, providing guidance, love and a few important lessons along the way.

Jay McDonald

With a unique breadth of knowledge earned through decades of hands- on experience, Jay is recognized as a strategic visionary whose high energy, quick wit and straight talk combined with a passion for mentoring others allows him to help executives achieve greater results and enjoy more rewarding personal lives. Connect with Jay McDonald on Google+

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