Contributor: Adrian Rutt
Mother's Day is just around the corner. So get some flowers, chocolate, and a whole lot of love and show those mothers some appreciation. They deserve it, and everyone knows it. What people don't really know, however, is how those super heroes that we call "mom" do it all. How they manage so well; how they seemingly do it all with time to spare. And by time to spare I mean enough time to get the next thing done or get the middle child to practice on time (always forgetting the middle child!). Some people are content to leave the question "How do they do it?" a mystery. I am not one of those people.
Mothers, I came to realize, are just good leaders -- plain and simple. Of course you don't have to be a mother to be a remarkable leader, nor do you have to be a woman. But let's be honest: woman leaders have it on lock. They bring something distinct and fresh to the table.
How do I know that they bring something fresh to the table? you might be asking yourself. How are they any different from men -- doesn't leadership transcend the female-male divide? How did I come to these conclusions? Well, for one, I observed. Observation is one of the most important aspects of learning from others. With a keen eye and an open mind, you can observe how remarkable women lead day in and day out -- but you have to actually observe. You can't just hope to suck up all their wisdom through osmosis. Once you start paying attention more closely, you'll realize that, yes, women do bring something distinct and fresh to the leadership equation.
Second, you have to experience things. In other words, you have to fail; and you have to learn from those failures. I have a sneaking suspicion - don't ask me why - that women handle their failures much better than their male counterparts. This isn't some backhanded compliment toward men like "men are harder on themselves," but rather an intended compliment toward women: I think they manage their ego and pride better. Obviously there are a thousand and one exceptions to this, but that's why this is only a sneaking suspicion. Do women hold the secret to managing ego, pride, and failure?
Third, you have to listen. Listening to the stories of leaders is essential to becoming a leader yourself. It is that one necessary ingredient. How could you even begin to know how to lead without the knowledge from others who are already leading? How would you know what you were missing? Don't you want to know what you're missing?
There's a debate going around right now over whether leaders are born or made, and I find myself in the camp of those who think that leaders are made. There's no question that what separates a leader from someone who never became a leader isn't birth but drive, determination, and will.
Leaders are made in all sorts of ways -- some are forged in the fires of motherhood while others are hammered out in the male-dominated climb to the top. These are all unique experiences, and each story deserves and needs to be told. Take it from me: there is no telling when someone, somewhere will strike the right chord with you. What are you waiting for?