How Motherhood Makes Female Leaders Even Better at their Jobs

Working Mother


Many of us remember our mothers as multitaskers in everything they did. We can pinpoint our mother’s unique blend of skills and we know they are often the strongest role models for their children. Women become even more resilient, empathic communicators, active listeners, crisis and task managers, to name a few, when they assume the role of a parent.

Parents, and mothers specifically, cultivate and perfect an invaluable set of skills. When they return to work, motherhood has taught women skills they take into their careers. A study shows that 84% of employed Americans believe that having working moms in leadership roles will make a business more successful.

Time to Eliminate Roadblocks

Many women leaders go on maternity leave being called a rising star, having high potential, being a great leader. But does this still hold when they return to work? 

The new label that is often added is “working mom”. Many working mothers are facing a harsh reality upon their return to their careers: from outdated gender roles to double-standards, returning to work as a mother is often challenging in ways it shouldn’t be. 

“73 percent think [working mothers] get fewer career-advancement opportunities than women who are not mothers; 71 percent of female respondents who are not mothers agreed this was the case.”

Source:  Bright Horizons

Unconscious bias, traditional mindsets, outdated workplace culture and lack of authentic dialogue are areas organizations and individuals need to eliminate. Not considering a working mom for an assignment because it involves travel, is only one example of the invisible roadblocks leaders who are mothers face. Assessing and eliminating them ensures the invaluable re-entry of mothers into their jobs is fair and equal to men and women who are not mothers. 

Professional work experience combined with the learnings of motherhood create a powerful combination of skills, making moms even more successful leaders in any organization.

Melinda Gates Key Female Quotes

Supporting All Working Parents

“All parents should be deemed primary parents”

Source: Forbes

In today’s modern families, more and more men choose to go on parental leave. Modern dads face roadblocks for choosing parental leave as this is not yet a universally accepted concept. While many companies have enacted more comprehensive parental leave programs, if someone is worried about being penalized for participating, it’s not serving its purpose. 

Consciously working against a “lack of leave” culture and creating a more inclusive approach to parental leave is key for all organizations. Because no matter how dads become a parent, it is life-changing for men as well. 

The Positive Impact of Motherhood on Women Leaders

Working mothers, not only in leadership roles, bring skills and strengths to their career that they have perfected in their lives as moms. When organizations eliminate bias and replace unfavorable working conditions with resources to support working mothers, women leaders who are mothers thrive, and so does the business.

Research shows the following skills were attributed often to working moms in leadership roles. Just like motherhood, leadership is a continuous growth experience with new goals, successes and challenges. 

Source: Bright Horizons

Team Players

Building personal relationships is crucial to build trust as a leader and benefits the organization as transparency and trust create committed employees. 

Active Listeners

Ensuring that employees are heard when they face a challenge either at work or in their personal lives, and are supported to help them grow is crucial for leaders. Being a parent allows women leaders to become better attuned to her employee’s needs.

Crisis Managers

Keeping your calm during a crisis while everyone in the team or possibly the company looks to you for guidance and action is a core skill women leaders who are mothers have mastered. Mom’s skills of crisis management are irrefutable and can translate into their leadership skills.

Diplomatic Leaders

An unbiased approach, active listening and with relationships built on trust, female leaders with children are superior diplomatic leaders in their organization. Facilitating discussion while being sensitive to everyone’s needs and achieving solutions that work for all involved is a skill every mom practices at home.  

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Support Mothers at the Workplace

Ensuring that women leaders can return to work after their maternity leave and continue or expand their successful leadership, organizations need to ensure that working mothers have the resources and support they need. Childcare, increasing work-life flexibility, and equal career-advancement opportunities are key areas that need to be evaluated and improved.

It makes no difference how a woman becomes a mother. She needs her organization to support her as a parent so she can support her organization as a leader.

Executive Search Consultant

Mara Vouleli, Director at Key Search

Motherhood makes women even more resilient, organized and efficient and this translates into everything in their life. 

No matter how women became parents, they are a role model for their children which is a great motivating force.

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10 Reasons Why the World Needs More Female Leaders

Key Search Hires Your Female Leaders

From the rise of female leadership to the unique skill set of a working mom in a leadership role, are you looking to hire for your leadership team? 

We help some of the world’s most exciting startups and fast-growth companies hire their female leaders. Our expertise and in-house research makes us the partner you need to hire the best women leaders for your company. Let’s set up an introductory call to see how I can help your company find the right female leader.

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