“I could never do that.”
That’s a phrase I hear A LOT when I first start working with clients. It usually comes up in the context of proposing some sort of leadership role as part of their career transition or progression plan.
Why the hesitation?
Well, it usually goes something like this:
“I’m not ready. I need more technical knowledge.”
“I don’t know all of the challenges I’ll face in a leadership position.”
“I need more experience.”
The last excuse (because let’s call a spade a spade) usually gets me chuckling because, for the most part, I coach women who are well into their careers and know their stuff. They do not need more experience. They do not need more technical knowledge. And they certainly don’t need to know everything before they can step into leadership roles. And neither do you.
Here’s why you’re probably more equipped than you think to step up into leadership now versus “some time in the future.”
As a Parent, You’re a Leader in Some Capacity
One of the most crucial points to remember is that as a mom, you’re already a leader in your own right. Even if you don’t currently lead a team at work, you lead yourself, your children, and your household.
Think about it – every day, you’re guiding, nurturing, and making important decisions that impact your family. Whether it’s setting rules, resolving conflicts, or planning for the future, you’re exercising leadership skills daily. This is a fundamental foundation for stepping into leadership roles at work.
Focus on What You’re Already Doing as a Leader
Rather than fixating on what you believe you need to do more of to be ready for leadership, take a closer look at what you’re already accomplishing. Consider the skills and qualities that have enabled you to successfully navigate the challenges of motherhood. These skills often align with what’s required in leadership roles, such as:
Time Management: You juggle multiple responsibilities every day, from school pickups to meal planning. This demonstrates your ability to prioritize tasks and manage your time effectively.
Problem-Solving: Parenthood throws unexpected challenges your way regularly. Your knack for finding creative solutions and adapting on the fly is a valuable leadership trait.
Communication: Clear and effective communication is essential in both parenting and leadership. You’re already an expert at conveying ideas, setting expectations, and resolving conflicts.
Empathy: Understanding the needs and emotions of your children is a form of empathy that can be directly applied to connecting with your team members and colleagues.
Resilience: Parenting often involves setbacks and difficult moments. Your ability to bounce back and keep moving forward is a testament to your resilience.
Embrace Your Ability to Figure Things Out
Listen, I get it. You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Parenthood doesn’t give me an option. I figure things out because I have to.”
The good news is there isn’t a single leader who knew everything before stepping into the role. Just like you probably didn’t know much about parenting before you ever became a mother. There is no rule book for parenting, just like there isn’t just one way to be a leader.
Leadership roles often come with unexpected challenges. I don’t know a single leader who knew every challenge their company would face. In fact, part of being a leader is you are going to encounter issues that no one else in the company has.
Instead of worrying about what you don’t know, lean into your ability to figure things out. Parenthood has likely already taught you that you can handle situations you’ve never encountered before. You’ve also come this far in your career by figuring out a thing or two.
Trust in your problem-solving skills, your resourcefulness, and your ability to learn and adapt quickly. Remember that every leader faces new and unfamiliar situations, and your capacity to navigate them is a valuable asset.
If you stopped doubting yourself, what would your dream leadership role be? Let me know in the comments!