Each time I start a session of servant leadership training I ask the group about who they think of when they think of servant leadership. Many times either “my mother”, or generically “mothers” comes up. I could not agree more, that mothers are a fantastic model of servant leadership, and as we had the chance to celebrate Mother’s Day yesterday, I thought it would be appropriate to highlight how mothers are model servant leaders.

First, they definitely provide a purpose, vision, and values for their children. They usually are very clear about their expectation in this area and they leave nothing to chance about the positive future that they want for their children.

They do a great job of engaging their children, and creating an environment of development. They let them know how important they are to the work of the family, and that their children’s work is particularly meaningful in the achievement of the family’s purpose. They set up boundaries for their children, and then let them spread their wings and be in control of the goal. And they are always cheering them on and providing positive encouragement for their accomplishments.

They set clear expectations for their children, and they constantly stretch them out to be the very best that they can be. Mothers realize that they are there to help their children get someplace where they would not normally be able to get on their own. 

They clearly choose the behaviors of love (patience, kindness, humility, respectfulness, selflessness, forgiveness, honesty, and commitment) when developing relationships with their children. No matter what their kids do, they will always love them!

And lastly, they absolutely provide a positive role model for what servant leadership looks like for their children. They are vulnerable, always wanting to be better, and always knowing that their children are watching them, learning how to live a life of service. 

I know I will always be thankful for the outstanding model of servant leadership my Mom was for me. She always thought about others before herself, and was tireless in her efforts to be the very best for not only her children and my Dad, but also for everyone she came into contact with. She lived to serve! Thanks Mom, for providing a great model of servant leadership!

Mark Deterding