Defining Leadership

leadership maxwell quoteIf we’re aiming to “Mother like a Leader” in 31 days, I guess we should define the key terms!

A Leader

What is a leader? More books than we could count have already been written trying to define exactly what a leader is. Great minds continually debate leadership topics such as, ‘are leaders born or made?’

SO, where do WE start??

One of the most widely accepted statements about leadership comes from John C. Maxwell. He says that,

“Leadership is influence, nothing more and nothing less.”

If we accept this simple definition, then Motherhood is definitely synonymous with leadership. To me, it sounds like Maxwell is defining motherhood when he says that,

Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.”

While Maxwell’s definition already fits very conveniently for us in mothersphere, it still lacks a couple things for our purposes here:

  •  As the Mother-Leader of four strong personalities, I’ve often seen how ‘influence’ can be used for good AND not-so-good! But as Mother-Leaders, we want to be a positive influence on our children, moving them towards an outcome that will benefit them, even though they might not yet be able to see it.
  • Here in the MRL community, when we talk about being Mother-Leaders, we are talking about being an intentional influence. There are plenty of incidental influences (try TV advertising for one!) and influence-ers (the salesman on your doorstep!) in our lives but that does not make them “leaders” as we mean here.

So, if we add both those concepts into Maxwell’s definition, we arrive at something like this:

Leadership is about intentionally and positively influencing another life, for the best possible outcome.

A Mother-Leader, then, will:

  • intentionally and positively influence her children,
  • for the best possible outcome!

Easy, huh?!

OK, maybe not EASY, after all, we don’t get to choose our ‘followers’ like most employer/leaders, nor do we have the option of firing them if we are having trouble getting them to comply! But at least we now have a straightforward and simple definition of leadership for every Mother-Leader.

* NB. Each Mother-Leader will bring particular strengths (and weaknesses) to her influence/leadership. And each Mother-Leader will need to determine what “the best possible outcome” means for her child/ren. (But these are topics for further down the track. 🙂 )

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Tell me, do you think there is anything missing from this definition? Or is it complete as is? (This 31 days series will probably become an ebook so your input as we go now is soooo appreciated!)


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