Who are your leadership influences? 

It’s not long now until we spend a whole day showering our Mums in love and thanking them for guiding us, not just in our early lives but, if we’re lucky enough to still have them around, well into our adult years. 

For most of us, our parents are our first role models and we learn about how to be in the world and how to interact with those around us, directly from them. We pick up their loving words as much as we pick up their bad habits. 

In leadership, we have these role models too. The only difference is that they’re not built into our lives automatically; we often have a choice in who we are influenced by. 

Recently I sat down with a client and asked them who they had been influenced by in their own leadership. After thinking for a little bit, they realised that they hadn’t been influenced positively by a single leader they’d interacted with. 

Instead, they realised that they had taken notice of their leaders’ approaches to different situations and learnt what not to do. 

An important part of growing in our own leadership is having leaders to look to for guidance on how to act, how to interact with our teams, what to do in crisis situations and how to use our words wisely. 

Positive role models are fantastic, and you’ll often hear people talking about those they admire in leadership – global leaders, spiritual leaders, local club leaders – but the leaders who aren’t doing the best job can also offer up important lessons for leaders who are still finding their feet. 

Look to the leaders in your life to understand what you like about their leadership style, what you can take on for yourself to help guide your own leadership, but also note the things that aren’t working so well and think about how you’ll avoid making those mistakes. 

The great thing about leadership is that all of us are constantly learning. Just like our parents, leaders aren’t perfect! Even the best will make mistakes. The benefit of observing closely is that you can understand what went wrong, witness (or be impacted by) the consequences and learn how to avoid making the same errors. All without making those specific mistakes. 

The bad news is that, just like parenting, there is no limit to how much you can learn from observing others. You do have to get stuck in and try it for yourself, becoming a role model with plenty of mistakes under your belt for the next generation of leaders to learn from. 

To all the mothers out there, have a fantastic Mothers Day!

If you need support in developing your own leadership skills, People Make the Difference can help. To find out more, visit www.pmtd.com.au or call us on 0412 333 415. Try our online leadership training videos – $99 for complete access. Great value if you’re committed to growing your leadership potential.