10 Business Leadership Traits That Also Work In Motherhood

Today we have a great guest post on leadership which may be especially poignant to those moms who have left a career to carry on full time at home.

Some days with kids are brilliant rays of sunshine and you bless the choice you made to leave the adult world. Other days are mounds of laundry, more mucus and bodily fluids than a person should have to put up with, and a complete feeling of “WTF, people used to appreciate me?!

Here is a quick article that will show you how all that adulting can translate into just another way to rock motherhood!

Ten Business Leadership Traits That Also Work In Motherhood

by Abby Curnow-Chavez

Today my best friend’s daughter passed her driver’s license test. Within minutes I got a text from my BFF saying, “I stood in the parking lot at the DMV and sobbed like a baby.”

This is a huge parenting moment. And, as every good best friend does, I sobbed right alongside her. In that moment, years of memories flooded back. From our crazy college parties to the weddings, baby showers, and birthdays we’ve celebrated together. And sadly, to the difficult health battles of our loved ones. Some won and some lost. In a nano-second, it hit me like a ton of bricks: Life is ever-changing. Our children, who have grown up together, are becoming competent, responsible, hard-working, young adults. They need us less, they want and deserve more autonomy, and they are ready to show us what they can do without us. And, we’ve worked hard for this too. Yet, why is to so tough to let go and give them the room to succeed and soar without us?

As parents, we have one true purpose: prepare our children to go out into the world independently and responsibly, with confidence and kindness, to do great things

With Mother’s Day around the corner, this morning’s well-earned cry has prompted me to reflect on motherhood and make a connection to my other job. Not the one of mom to teenage boys, but my work as a leadership consultant, thought-leader, and executive coach. Here is the connection: In the world of work, this driver’s license accomplishment is like earning a gigantic promotion.

leadership motherhood


So, whether it’s being the boss of a newly promoted teen driver or a business leader, there is typically a paradigm shift required. These new drivers and leaders need enough room to successfully do their new job. We need to let them step into their new accountabilities, build new skills, including messing up, learning and growing; but ultimately a good boss supports, teaches, and coaches to ensure success. We should expect challenges and setbacks. Likewise, there will be surprise and delight when they show us what they’re truly capable of.

When I work with business leaders to prepare for and take on bigger jobs, we often spend time understanding (and avoiding) the typical leadership transition traps. In business, here are some of the classic things that trip up leaders:

  • They fail to trust and empower the leaders who work for them. (They feel they can do it better or they are not sure of capabilities, so they keep it for themselves)
  • Holding on too tight to what they did before and how they did it. (Even though the new job requires something very different from them)
  • Unsure of how to create value in their new role; if they are not doing the work anymore, they are not sure how to spend their time

In truth, for many of us, these are the exact same things that trip us up as parents of teens. As our kids become teenagers they force us to adjust our role and purpose. They insist on more independence, freedom, and autonomy. And, for the most part, they are highly capable. As parents of teens, we are now leading leaders and just as in business these new roles require an adjustment. In the context of work, this seems obvious, yet as parents, this transition can be so much harder and less apparent.

It’s okay for you to have setbacks and make mistakes



Most days, I feel like I am a much better leadership consultant than mother. I know there are some extremely important leadership qualities that apply to parenting. In the spirit of Mother’s Day, I plan to renew my commitment to being the best mother and leader of little leaders I can be. These are ten leadership tried and true business strategies I have adapted to motherhood:

1. If you can and should be doing it, I’m not doing it for you. When I do it for you I’m holding you back.

2. It’s okay for you to have setbacks and make mistakes. When you do, the only thing I expect from you is that you openly and honestly explore why it happened. Then think about what you could have done differently, and make the shifts necessary to avoid the same mistake.

3. You are smarter and more capable than both of us even know. I will help you explore what you are best at and help create opportunities for you to learn, grow, and be your best; your potential to achieve greatness is unlimited.

4. I will be clear about my expectations and then trust you to live up to them. I know you want to do the right thing (even though sometimes you won’t (see #2).

5. When you tell me you have got it covered I will give you the space to follow-through. I won’t ask you ten times if you have done it yet (see #4).

6. I am here to help you expand your self-awareness, learn what you are capable of, help you see your own potential, and build your confidence. I realize this will not happen without honesty, candor, transparency, and positive intent.

7. I care about your opinion. I want to hear your views and understand how you think about things; when I am asking you questions it is because I care and want to learn more about you – not to interrogate and fault find.

8. I will work to create positive energy and optimism. I know you will be your best if that is what our home feels like.

9. I will recognize and celebrate your milestones, successes, and accomplishments – small and large.

10. I am on your team, always. You never have to question my intentions or commitment to you.

The truly great business leaders I know exemplify the value that true leaders do not create followers. They create more leaders. As parents, we have one true purpose: prepare our children to go out into the world independently and responsibly, with confidence and kindness, to do great things. Happy Mother’s Day!

We’ve got this, Moms!

Abby Curnow-Chavez is a mother, leadership development expert and co-founder of the Trispective Group. She is the co-author of The Loyalist Team: How Trust, Candor, and Authenticity Create Great Organizations. For more information, or to take a free team snapshot assessment, please visit, www.trispectivegroup.com.

10 business leadership traits that also work in motherhood

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