How Motherhood Makes Many Women Better Leaders

Mother and infant.

"Motherhood transforms many women into better leaders." Joann Lublin

“Motherhood transforms many women into better leaders.” Joann Lublin – Power Moms

Lublin writes, “Tapping skills honed as time-starved parents, they set priorities well, multitasked, and delegated effectively.” And motherhood provides even bigger benefits.

Empathy:

Motherhood teaches empathy.

“Decades of research now point to emotional intelligence as being the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest of the pack. The connection is so strong that 90% of top performers have high emotional intelligence.” Travis Bradberry

Empathy is a signature quality of emotionally intelligent leaders, along with self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, and social skill. Goleman

Practice empathy:

Sympathy suggests weakness. Empathy shows respect.

Sarah Hofstetter*, current President of Profitero and Campbell Soup Board Member, scheduled a client visit with an employee struggling with a hospitalized child. The drive took 90 minutes.

Empathy creates space for heart-felt conversations.

“…Hershey CEO Michele Buck* lets employees arrive late or leave early to care for their youngsters’ needs…”

Empathy treats people like human beings instead of tools.

Listening:

Motherhood is an opportunity to listen.

“The best bosses lead well by listening well…” Lublin

Alison Rand* developed listening skills while mothering her sixteen-year-old daughter. “I’ve learned that she often just needs me to listen well without the intent of providing a solution.”

You infuse value into others when you listen.

  1. Provide opportunity for people to hear their own voice.
  2. Listen to ask a question, not make a statement.
  3. Relax when you listen. Slow your breathing and lift your eyebrows.
  4. Explain time limits before you begin.

Think of listening as an Olympic event. The only way to get the Gold is to go all-in.

“Real listening is a willingness to let the other person change you.” Alan Alda

89% believe working mothers in leadership roles bring out the best in employees. MFI

How might motherhood make women better leaders?

* = material from, “Power Moms,” by Joann Lublin

This post is based on my conversation with Joann Lublin. I found Power Moms to be practical and filled with heart.

Joann is the former management news editor for the Wall Street Journal. She also was it’s career advice columnist for 30 years and shared the Journal’s Pulitzer Prize for stories about corporate scandals.