This is dedicated to Jane RECE who was my first blog mentor, critical friend & dreamed big with me. She left her position as early childhood educator with Growing Together last week & began a new leadership educator role with the CK Municipal Children’s Services.
A few weeks ago I lifted the big aloe filled clay pot into the house. It is going on the third winterizing. The first summer it grew so much that I didn’t have the heart to toss it. My children joke about my love affair with aloe plants & their healing properties. When someone is cut in the house, they mimic me “put some aloe on it”.
It barely survived in our garage as I often forgot to water and it’s just above freezing. This past June as I put it outside I was pretty sure it had died. I had to cut the juice emptied leaves which left brown scars. It had tilted far to one side (probably seeking the little bit of light there was in the garage.) However, under this summer’s prime conditions it flourished & produced two small aloe plants. That is when I saw in wonder that she was no longer an “it” she was a she & she was a mother. We women go through a lot in motherhood & often if not look, feel as haggard as Momma Aloe Vera did. I am a devoted mom to three adult and one teen child, & have the tiger stripe badges to prove it.
Jane witnessed my leadership growth & during our tear filled goodbyes she asked what had changed my leadership approach. My response was that it was my mind set & how I saw the team & myself. Some where along the way it morphed into a maternal role which is now my default for leadership.
6 Good Reasons you should take a Mother role in Leadership.
- Mother’s listen – Mother’s have patience to listen & ask good questions to understand. When the speaker feels heard, they also feel valued and experience a sense of belonging.
- Mother’s care – By listening she demonstrates she cares. It’s not words, but the act of taking time, engaging & remembering to check in which shows that she not only cares about the team as a whole, but about the person as an individual in all their life roles.
- Mother’s will tell it to you straight – She will teach you, she will coach you, but she does not have patience for laziness, or lying. She will tell it to you straight because she cares about you & those around you that you are impacting with your negative behaviour.
- Mother’s are proud of you – She will motivate you to do your best in absence of recognition, an award or reward. When there is an award she’s the first one you will want to share it with.
- Mother’s make it feel like a family – She makes you feel safe knowing if there is a crisis she will tell you what she can, & if she’s busy it’s because she’s handling business. She treats all with respect & expects all to do the same. She celebrates & weeps with you & calls the employees “team” or “family”.
- A mother’s door is always open – She is eager to hear & celebrate the new leader’s adventures.
I’m going to transplant one of the new aloe shoots at work to remind me of what we do. “We grow leaders here”.
Thankful for my mother & role model who: listened to my long stories, loved me dearly, told it to me straight, was so proud of me, wherever we were made it cozy & smiled to hear of all my new adventures. I miss her. Dec. 5, 2006