Mothers, Our Greatest Leaders

This week, our nation celebrates Mother’s Day. Best-selling author Peter Senge in his noted book “The Fifth Discipline” points out that leadership skills mirror the skills of effective parenting. Of course, mothers are a perfect example.

Believe it our not, reflections about Mother’s Day and leadership experts made me think about my grandmother this week. She celebrates her 93rd birthday this week along with Mother’s Day. This year is particularly poignant because she thrives as a respected member of her community without a fancy title or education. Through her example, she continues to show me the qualities of a top-notch leader. Believe me, you cannot find any of this insight from a doctoral program or high-end corporate training program.

In the 1940s, she supported my grandfather when they opened and operated a black-owned grocery store.  Can you imagine the strength that must have been required during a time in history when women did not have prominent executive roles? Regardless, she would be considered in contemporary times as the second in command. In fact, author Ann Crittenden in her book “If You’ve Raised Kids, You Can Manage Anything: Leadership Begins at Home,” highlights some of the transferable skills that women bring to the workplace. These include multitasking, collaboration, and strategic planning, just to name a few.

What I also admire is how my grandmother truly captures the spirit of fortitude. In her church, she remains among the elders and serves as an advisor about livelihood, balance, and inner strength. Not just that, but I marvel because she regularly stitches quilts for sick children at the Ronald McDonald House and family members. She takes pride carefully selecting the fabric, thread, and design for each handmade treasure. What an inspiration!

Eleanor Roosevelt once said “a home requires all the tact and all the executive ability required in any business.” So, let’s not just reflect about gratitude for our mothers. Let’s also take time to celebrate their grand testament sharing with us glowing examples of exemplary leadership.

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