Developing leadership skills can feel like a tall order when you’re a working mom. You’re already at maximum capacity, and learning to lead can be overwhelming.
However, as a working mom, you’re already a leader in your own right. You have a tremendous capacity for empathy and can adapt to almost any situation — both at home and in the boardroom.
Despite the stereotypes and stigma, being a working mom means you’re in a great position to learn how to develop leadership skills and climb the corporate ladder.
Use Your Transferable Skills
As a working mom, you may be tempted to compare yourself to others or undervalue the skills you’ve developed while raising a family. However, while others were working a 9 to 5, you’ve learned to develop skills such as problem-solving, empathy, and other leadership qualities h at home.
Don’t discard these leadership skills you’ve learned as a mom. Instead, learn how to transfer your skills intentionally and develop them further. Transferable skills like critical thinking and flexibility will help you make headway during your career and serve you well in leadership positions.
Find a Mentor
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you first enter a leadership position. A good mentor can help you succeed as they know how to develop leadership skills while navigating a busy home life.
Mentors are significant if you run your own small business. Mentors help you manage small business growth by giving you insights based on their experience and can guide you as you develop as a leader. A good mentor will empower you and help you build connections beyond your network, too.
If you struggle to find a mentor, contact an experienced mother in your business or industry. Ask them simple questions like, “How do you recover from setbacks?” or, “what’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned, and how has it proven invaluable?” Continue to build rapport and ask if they’ll take you on in an official capacity.
Connect With Others
Connecting with like-minded professionals can amplify your reach and develop your leadership skills.
You don’t have to travel to leadership conferences and events, either. You can network from the comfort of your home by joining online communities like LinkedIn.
Maximize your chances of meeting other leaders online by regularly posting to LinkedIn. The best time to post on LinkedIn is between 7:00 – 8:30 am on weekdays as most folks check their socials before they log on for work in the morning.
Engage with the digital communities you join, and consider signing up for a few digital seminars or conferences. Most conferences give you time to chat with others in break-out rooms and can be a time-efficient way to learn and grow your skills as a leader.
Adapt the CEO mindset
There are plenty of women who choose to become a CEO while raising a family. Even if you aren’t ready to step up to the boardroom, you can still adopt the CEO mindset to grow your leadership skills.
Start by setting clear goals. Be detailed and choose measurable goals like “improve team efficiency by X%” or “attend Y number of leadership conferences.” Achieving quantifiable goals is an excellent indicator of your leadership growth and can boost you when you feel low.
Trust in your story and lead from experience. Running a business while raising a family is incredibly impressive, and many of your peers will be inspired by your focus and drive. Don’t be afraid to reference your achievements as a mother, as this can make you a more empathetic leader and show others how your leadership skills first developed.
Empathize With Intention
As a mother, you’re already an expert in empathy. You know what your kid feels before they even feel it and can resolve a problem before it becomes a full-on meltdown.
Leading adults differs slightly from parenting your children, but your ability to empathize will help you stand out from other leaders. Among other soft skills, empathy is one of the excellent equalizing leadership skills. You need it in every situation dealing with others in the business world. Practice empathetic listening with the staff you lead and aim to understand their problems before you jump into problem-solving.
Empathy can go a long way as a leader. However, empathy alone is not enough. Act on the thoughts and feelings of your followers and make sure they have access to resources like therapy and counseling.
Balancing your work schedule and home life can be challenging. You’re expected to be your “best self” all day and may feel overwhelmed if you don’t find the time.
Setting aside time for self-care can recharge your batteries and develop your leadership skills. Ask family and trusted friends to care for your kids while you decompress. Maintain your boundaries during your time off work, as this will set a clear example and help others avoid burnout, too.
During your time away, try to reflect on your recent experiences and identify a few moments where you feel that you excelled as a leader. Taking the time to recognize your achievements can build authentic self-confidence and give you the motivational boost you need.
As a working mom, you have all the skills you need to succeed in a leadership position. You’re adaptable and resilient and can help folks become their best selves. However, you shouldn’t try to do it all alone. Find a mentor and join a digital community to share your experiences, learn from experienced peers, and teach others how to develop leadership skills.