Being a great business leader is not something that's easy to achieve. You have to have the right mix of patience, grit, empathy, understanding, tenacity, imagination, and creativity in order to survive in the relentless world of business. Being a business leader, in other words, is not for the faint of heart.
However, for some people, being a business leader comes more easily or naturally because they're used to the demands of life. Typically, women business leaders who are also mothers make excellent entrepreneurs. Here are some of the reasons why.
They have compassion.
When you start a business, it has to come from a place of wanting to help others and to make the world a better place.
According to mompreneur, and President and Founder of Brandyn Campbell Communications, Brandyn Campbell, moms "tend to lead from a place of compassion and humanity, which is always a winning strategy. Many of us created this path out of necessity due to the lack of flexibility in traditional workplaces. Because of that fact, we are passionate about other women in business succeeding because we know how tough this road can be."
"We tend to be leaders not just in our fields, but also in the movement to create more options for women with children to work, parent, and succeed in their professions," says Campbell.
They are already leaders.
When you're a business leader, you have to make tough calls for your company, be someone that your employees look up to and your clients respect, and be able to handle many different responsibilities all at once.
That's why being a mom is much like being a business leader, as Soo-Jin Behrstock, founder of SOOJIN.com, points out. "Not many people think of motherhood as a leadership position, but leadership is a huge part of bringing up a child. Motherhood requires quick decision-making, role modeling, and multitasking, all of which are valuable assets for effective business leadership."
They are remarkably patient and calm.
If you have a quick temper or get anxious easily, motherhood can be challenging, because it tests you in ways you could never imagine. Mompreneur Vered DeLeeuw, founder of the Healthy Recipes blog, has dealt with screaming toddlers, babies vomiting during a transatlantic flight, unruly kids knocking over a wine display at Whole Foods, and crazy temper tantrums. Like business leaders, moms have to stay calm in tough situations.
"As a mom, you truly learn to handle anything without losing your cool," DeLeeuw says. "This translates beautifully into running a business. As a business owner, you have to deal with stress, deadlines, and constant crises. But, after being through the trenches as a mom, you can do it and remain unfazed. Angry clients, a broken website, a looming deadline...bring it on! I've dealt with much worse when raising my kids."
They have time and project management skills.
Busy moms are always rushing around and figuring out their own balancing act, just as good business leaders do. Being a mompreneur is much like being a successful project manager, Campbell says.
"We are used to having to accomplish tasks with small windows of time, which translates to time management prowess, a critical skill when your time literally equals money," says Campbell. "At any given time, we're balancing projects for ourselves, our children, and our businesses, which translates into mompreneurs' being project management bosses."
They adapt well to changing situations.
Kids can be unpredictable—just like a business—and adaptability and flexibility are critical to being a great business leader. Katie Bigelow, founder of Mettle Ops and a mother of seven, was a special needs mom for more than five years. She said she managed extensive daily routines and strict diets, doctor's visits, in-home nursing staff, medications, and equipment during this time.
"A CEO uses the same skills in a different application," says Bigelow. "Being a mom and a CEO also require the ability to manage the unexpected: [whether it's] the trip to the emergency room and following hospitalization, or the surprise issue in the office or with a customer. Both require extensive planning and the flexibility to take things as they change."
Mompreneurs are quick on their feet and ready to jump in when needed. They can handle challenging situations and know how to adapt. And, although being both a mother and a business leader is not the simplest thing to do, it does pay off in the end, says Behrstock. "Starting a business may not be easy, but with hard work, passion, and tenacity, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to."