Traits of a Leader

Mom Entrepreneurs – How to Lead by Example and Model What You Learn

Kim DeYoung asked:

As women we get to know ourselves and grow in our relationship to others. That’s why women tend to lead — not by words alone — but through our example and by modeling what we learn. This is the kind of leadership that’s most impactful because it’s accomplished day in and day out.

At some point in our lives we are all leaders especially in the minds of our children. The traits we exhibit in business should align and be the same ones we want our children to value. When they have the opportunity to see for themselves what mommy believes in and is doing, what’s working and not, and how she deals with it and moves on and grows…that makes a tremendous impact. Often better than anything you can directly say.

It’s not just at home where your example and model is needed. Most likely there are women that are in your team, are part of your direct sales organization, or who look to you to take the lead in a mastermind or networking program. How can you to take on a leadership role, learn to enjoy it and thrive? 

Who You Are BE-ing?

The key to being a leader is exactly that — who you’re BE-ing. This is something that I address frequently since people want to follow those that are attractive. Think about the qualities of leaders that you admire — their focus, vision, character, initiative, communication, commitment, competence, self-discipline and passion.

When you model these leadership qualities it makes it easy for others to duplicate what they see. Beyond qualities, success in business and in life also requires skills. Take a look at the following list of skills that fantastic leaders (and parents) model. Then read the action tip for practical suggestions on enhancing your natural ability as a leader. 

Natural Leaders (and parents)…

Care about helping others and being of service

ACTION TIP When you step out of your own personal focus and begin asking how you can be of service to others, that’s when true leadership emerges. When I started in my first business I “needed” to earn an income and was internally focused on that. That’s what others felt when they were around me. That was not very attractive. When I turned my attention to what other’s needed, everything shifted. Stop and notice when things aren’t going smoothly. Ask yourself, “Where’s my focus?”

Are open to learning

ACTION TIP – You can’t just rely on past knowledge and experience. Natural leaders see the need to continually put good information in. One way to do this is by starting each day reading something positive. This thirst for knowledge is something that your children will naturally absorb. Take the time to follow and learn from those you admire. In the words of Debbie Ford in her book The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, “If you can see it in someone else you’ve got it in yourself. “

Attract other leaders

ACTION TIP – You can’t be a leader if you’re hidden in the shadows. Be on the lookout to share with sincerity and enthusiasm what you know works especially with beginner work at home moms. What’s really great to see are the “potential” leaders that will gravitate to you as a result. You’ll also enhance your children’s leadership abilities that they can put into practice whether they’re in kindergarten or college.

Don’t make excuses

ACTION TIP – Someone shared with me a powerful idea, “you can make excuses or you can make money, but you can’t do both.” When your head is in a negative place of excuse-making you literally can’t see anything better yourself, your brain shuts opportunities down. When you make that shift, stop making excuses and see the smallest possibility, you’re able to think of what small step you can do and you can begin to move forward.

Find ways to make things happen

ACTION TIPLeaders are proactive rather than reactive. This might mean making calls vs. relying solely on emails to communicate with your customers. This also means you take the initiative and always follow-up

Brush themselves off when they go through a flat spot

ACTION TIP – It’s not that leaders don’t get upset, but they don’t let it linger. Develop the tools to dust yourself off and get going again. This might mean spending some time analyzing your mindset. Attitude is everything.

Some of these skills might seem natural to you and some might require more effort. I really believe that we can all be leaders in different ways. Every time you encourage, inspire or support someone, be it a business partner or your child, you’re displaying leadership.

As a parent you always wonder, “Can I trust that in the choices I make — even if I make mistakes along the way — I’ll be teaching my kids through modeling?” In a recent conversation with my 10-year old daughter about career choices, I felt compelled to share with her that I was still on a journey that always includes following my heart and my gut. To me that’s the most important lesson I can teach her.

Take a moment and reflect on what lessons you’d like to help your children to learn. Think about the advice you share with your friends and colleagues. If you’re modeling what you teach then you’ll be an inspiring and natural leader.

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