Every second Sunday in May we pay tribute to mothers everywhere and the invaluable contributions they’ve made to our lives, often having done so while balancing the demands of career and family. From efficiency to persuasiveness to delegation, many of the traits that great mothers cultivate and practice every day are being leveraged at home and at work to lead teams and run successful businesses. In this spirit, five power women were asked to weigh in with the most important lesson they’ve learned about leadership since becoming a mother.
“What’s ‘the one thing’ that motherhood has taught you about being a better leader?”
1. Know When To Push And When To Let Go
Motherhood has taught me when to keep pushing and when to let go. I want my teams thinking independently and aggressively pursuing goals. They should have enough rope to explore their own ideas and develop their own hypotheses. But it’s also important to step in and course correct. Striking that balance is what defines effective leadership.
-Christa Quarles is the CEO of Open Table and the mother of two sons.
2. A Personalized Approach Is Key
My children are two parts amazing, one part insane, and a whole lot of nothing alike. If I don’t adjust to their unique personalities and spend quality time with each of them, we have total chaos at home. The good news for my team at Pandora is I have made a thousand mistakes at home and I use those lessons to bring my best self to work. The secret is observing the process it takes to get there and understanding that everyone has different strengths, passions and motivations.
-Lizzie Widhelm is the SVP of Ad Product Strategy at Pandora and the mother of three sons.
3. Embrace Unknown Territory
Motherhood has taught me not to fear the unknown but instead embrace the journey of learning on the go! Enjoy the fulfilling feeling of “figuring it out” and use that energy and motivation to tackle the next challenge! For me, being a new mother and a new entrepreneur at the same time was all unknown territory. But as I began to meet and exceed one milestone at a time, that momentum and empowerment continued to build. The big takeaway for me is to use moments of accomplishment, big or small, as fuel to have the courage to go after it all – the sky’s the limit!
-Michelle Cordeiro Grant is the Founder and CEO, Lively and the mother of a son and daughter.
4. Balance Competing Needs
Seeing their mother as a politician wasn’t easy, but my children gained a healthy respect for civic engagement. I was able to show my children the importance of voting – at a young age, I’d take them campaigning to make sure they end up as citizens with a strong social conscious and an appreciation for their country. Motherhood further confirmed my passion for my profession.
-Kathy Hochul is the Lieutenant Governor of the State of New York and mother of two.
5. Empathy And Balance Are Key
Parenthood helped (or forced) me how to better manage my time and prioritize critical needs for my work and my personal life. At the end of the day, if I preserve the time and energy to do things with my 5-year old daughter and husband – which these days could include anything from gymnastics, soccer, horse riding – it makes me a better manager and employer.
-Louise Pentland is the EVP, Chief Business Affairs & Legal Office for PayPal and the mother of one daughter.
Read more forbes.com.