If you were to write down all the traits a 21st century leader should possess, you would be describing the quintessential mom: nurturing yet tough, inclusive yet decisive, empowering yet accountable, and humble yet courageous. For this reason, it should come as no surprise that there’s been a dramatic increase of “mother-leaders” on "Most Powerful Women" lists and also at the top of America's large businesses. Executive mothers are winning the hearts and minds of their employees and the boards who hire them. They have found the magical combination of toughness and softness that CEOs need to lead in today's volatile corporate arena. In her new book, Mother Leads Best – 50 Women Who are Changing the Way Organizations Define Leadership, top high-tech-industry executive and mother Moe Grzelakowski has discovered the keys to why motherhood transforms good leaders into great ones. Through interviews with 50 of America’s top corporate women who are also moms, Moe found that bearing and raising children had an amazing impact on their values and skills:
· While they maintained their intensively driven, high powered, work ethic, they also became remarkably more compassionate, selfless, and grounded.
· The love they gave and received at home unleashed their maternal instincts, strengthening their character and broadening their perspective on life.
· Their overwhelming desire to be the best mother they could possibly be sharpened their focus and softened their edges. They learned to manage chaos, stay calm in a crisis and foster teamwork. The stories of transformation in Mother Leads Best will captivate anyone interested in solutions to today’s corporate leadership issues. Moe weaves together the common threads of leadership maturity experienced by 50 remarkable executives in a way that will change both men’s and women’s perspective of mother leaders. The evidence she puts forth creates a convincing case that embracing the “maternal leadership model” offers organizations a competitive edge.
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Moe Grzelakowski is one of the top female executives in the international high-tech industry. She broke the glass ceiling at AT&T’s Bell Laboratories, Motorola and Dell, where she was responsible for turning around several multi-billion dollar international telecommunication businesses, all the while raising two sons. Moe has received several prestigious awards for her inspirational leadership style and has served as a leadership coach around the world. She sits on numerous boards, is a senior advisor at Investor Growth Capital and holds several degrees from Northwestern University, including a Bachelors and Masters in Science from the McCormick School of Engineering and an MBA from The Kellogg School of Management. Moe lives with her husband and children in Clarendon Hills, Illinois.From Publishers Weekly:
According to Grzelakowsky, corporate America is about to become a kinder, gentler place thanks to CEO Moms and their softer, more humane approach to dealing with coworkers and underlings. Whether or not the country is truly "on the cusp of a leadership revolution" is questionable, however, as Grzelakowsky's book consists primarily of anecdotal information and subjective impressions. Grzelakowsky starts with the premise that anyone can be a maternal leader-even men-if they master the skills and lessons embraced in this book. Drawing on her own experiences as a mother as well as those of 50 successful businesswomen, Grzelakowsky outlines the numerous traits of the maternal leader (sensitivity, warmth, patience, full attentiveness, adaptability, tolerance, etc.) and backs up her claims with anecdotal passages from people like Melinda Brown, the controller for PepsiCo Beverages and Foods, and Doreen Toben, the CFO at Verizon. In the section dedicated to creative problem-solving, for example, consultant Lorene Steffes says, "Problem-solving my kids' issues definitely carried over to work. When things weren't going well on a project, I learned to stay positive, and I would figure out a way to make things work." While mothers on the executive track may find these segments inspiring, Grzelakowsky's primary message-that authentic, human behavior will engender better responses from coworkers and clients-is an all-too-familiar refrain.
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