My wife, Consuela, has one of the toughest jobs I know. Previous to her current career, she held positions like Events Coordinator for the Chamber of Commerce and Director of Volunteer Activities at an organization that assisted our aging population. These positions required her to lead teams of volunteers, manage a budget, coordinate resources, etc. But, all of those jobs pale in comparison to what she currently does.
You see, my wife is a stay-at-home-mom or SAHM. She is approaching her 7th anniversary in this career and works much harder than I do or have. We agreed many years ago that she would stay at home with our children and we have never regretted that decision. Watching her lead has been encouraging, educational, and awe-inspiring. Being a SAHM is not for the weak-hearted or lazy – it’s a noble calling that brings with it many untold blessings and benefits.
Over the last 7 years, I have watched my wife in action. And, today, I am bringing you five (although there are probably many more) of the leadership lessons that I’ve learned from her:
- Organization is key to progress. And I don’t just mean that things are put away or cleaned up. Organization for a SAHM is the only way to get things done. My wife schedules out her week on Sunday evenings. She has a good idea each morning what the goals are for that day and who needs to be where when. She has perfected the process for getting a kid off to school and has systems for most routine things around our home.
- A positive outlook can make a bad day turn for the better. I’ve written about choosing your attitude before, and Consuela embodies this. She understands that her attitude and outlook for a day or even for a task can make or break it. When you’re dealing with 2 and 4 year olds (or even adults, for that matter!), the demeanor of the leader sets the tone – or it can do the opposite. Her ability to see something positive in and about any situation is key to the overall success of her day or to-do list.
- Identifying and leveraging strengths flattens a bumpy road. My daughter is extremely helpful. She likes to help with tasks and doesn’t mind being asked to do this or take that there. My son is very good at systems and analytical thinking. If he is told that every day he needs to set out a granola bar for his younger brother’s breakfast, he will do it – consistently, every day. My wife has recognized these strengths and has figured out ways to maximize them to help get things done.
- Metrics matter. Whether it’s our finances, the healthiness of our food, or the grades that my son is getting in school, my wife uses metrics to help determine the health of our family. She is aware of the numbers and reviews them often. Then, she uses those numbers to adjust what needs to be adjusted or to put new things into practice. She allows the metrics to influence the way she leads and that has an impact on the overall health and success of our family.
- Caring deeply for those that you lead makes all the difference. Ok, they’re her children, but there is still something to be said about this. At the end of the day, she measures success by her ability to love and lead our children rather than the tasks that she’s able to accomplish. She stays at home because we want our children to have the influence of their mother in the most formative years they will ever have. The goal for us is healthy children – nothing more, nothing less. My wife loves my children in ways that I cannot. My wife invests in my children in ways that a daycare cannot. My wife cares for my children in ways that she is uniquely designed to do.
As leaders at a company or organization, we are privy to hearing that we’re doing a good job. We receive performance evaluations. We win awards and receive benefits for a job well done. Stay at home moms do not. But that doesn’t mean that they lead any less than we do. In fact, their leadership can be an example for us all.
What would you add to this list? Which of these can you immediately apply to your own leadership to get better? Comment below…