When the word ‘nurture’ comes to mind, words like cultivate, growth, development and not ‘women’ come to mind. Many times, women are termed nurturers; a term meant to relegate them to just raising a home-front. But in fact, nurturing is a key leadership skill.
According to John Maxwell nurturing is a Leadership Attribute. This important ingredient is a factor in determining how you can ‘influence’ as a leader. Since it turns out women are great at these (as you have all concluded), then we should make a case for them in Leadership.
Let’s Change the Narrative
Being Nurturers has been a known disadvantage for a longtime now; that women are occupied with raising a home-front and consequently are not able to match the effectiveness of men at the workplace.
Many times, women who have aced at the work are seen as over-ambitious or had to not show the family-side of them. Women have had to prove the point to Superiors…to be promoted.
Questions like ‘Can a woman have it all?’ have arisen. And the phrase ‘We women have to work twice as hard’ is embraced. I don’t think driving women to the wall makes a case for them in leadership.
Yes women can have it all. In fact being a natural at nurturing is an added advantage, as there are many takeaways from it, and we must make the most of this transferable skill.
What Does Nurturing Entail
Taking Responsibility for Something
Nurturing is a show of responsibility. Beyond the act of ‘raising’, it is filling a real need.
It takes ‘taking responsibility’, to nurture. Be it an individual, the future, a brilliant idea. Not only for personal benefits. Many people fail to take responsibility, because they are consumed by personal benefits.
Many Years ago Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat for a white person in the bus. The impact of her actions didn’t just trigger a 381-day Montgomery bus boycott, but a ripple effect forever. It raised concerns on racial segregation and many years later things are a lot better.
She didn’t stand up only for herself, but for many generations coming after her. She has changed a narrative, by taking responsibility for the change she wanted to see.
Showing Dedication by Being Sold Out
Leadership means being ‘sold out’. And as in nurturing roles, it requires being deliberate, and out-rightly invested.
As a leader you are being entrusted with teams, projects, ideas, and you must be deliberate in nurturing it to attend its fullest potential.
This is usually required during motherhood. To nurture a fetus to adulthood; to be a significant part of someone’s growth journey, nurse their talents and ambitions, and to raise them. To get the best of what is being nurtured, there has to be maximum dedication.
In leadership, nurturing is required to harness the potential, and grow the people we are leading. Also, leaders can influence people they are dedicated to.
Tara Fela-Durotoye once narrated how. “A team member lost their child early hours of the morning and I was the first he called”. As a leader, a show of dedication is that you are invested in your team members’ well-being, and in return earn their trust.
Not just with people, everything we do. They become a reflection of how much we are dedicated to making it work. They are either up to full potential or not.
[Tweet “Not just that Rome wasn’t built in a day…a brick was laid ‘every day’.”]
Being Patient to get the best out of a Something
Patience is a skill needed even in nurturing our personal growth. To be masters and leaders of our journey, we have to be given to patience. It’s not just that Rome wasn’t built in a day, it is that a brick was laid ‘every day’.
Jim Kwik narrates how he had a brain injury that didn’t leave him the same. He grew up with learning difficulties, and literally had to throw away his dreams.
At some point, he found succor in stories like Einstein’s who was this genius that was dyslexic. He was also really fascinated by the super heroes; X-Men and the fact that the school of superheroes (in X-Men) was in his neighborhood.
Jim turned his life around by learning how to master his own brain to make it work for him and is now sharing his learning techniques to help people who are slow at learning to learn fast.
One of the most important lessons from his story was that he had to be patient, to nurture himself, to get the best of himself. Interestingly, he eventually had his encounter with the school of superheroes when the Chairman of 20th Century Fox later invited him to the set of X-Men.
He says “A super-hero for me is somebody who is on the path of discovering and developing their superpowers; their strengths, their unique ability, their unique talent…”
We are Masters in our own uniqueness. Leaders are people who are patient with themselves, and with others, to unravel their full potential. Like Einstein; it takes one thousand times to discover a light bulb.
[Tweet “Nurturing is about transforming nothing into something.”]
It is like planting a seed and believing that it will become a Tree. This becomes the fuel of dedication and patience, because our faith will become our reality eventually.
Linda Ikeji broke grounds for blogging in Nigeria. It hadn’t been popularized at the time. Even when a client reached out to advertise, she had no idea how much to charge.
Linda Ikeji Blog is now the go-to place for gossip in Nigeria, and has become a thriving business, even currently expanding – the fruit of her initial toiling. She says she had to work from home at a time, when she couldn’t afford an office space anymore.
Nurturing is about keeping the faith, rising above the tides, and transforming nothing into something. Faith is about going beyond ideas, and mustering up grit to transform our brainchildren into reality.
The reason for Women’s Leadership
Want to make a case for women in leadership? Then utilize their nurturing potential who are not only able capable of grooming the home front but nurturing careers, ideas, businesses, but because they have invaluable experience from the former.
They have been nurturing the future; a role we have come to stereotype them for. What the society fails to do is deploy the dedication, responsibility, patience, affection and other leadership attributes that they bear as a result of being nurturers.