The lesson of knowing when to lead and how to follow is an important one. It is not a weakness to follow; it's only a weakness if you have been given the opportunity to lead and you don't step up and take advantage of it. As women, we need to be prepared to lead and to always be looking for leadership opportunities; however, we also need to be able to lead in a way that does not step on someone else's project in the process.
The best example I can give you of knowing when to lead and when to follow is my mother Mimi and my Aunt Marie sharing responsibilities in preparing our Yozzo family holiday meals. Because of our huge extended family, the location of holiday meals alternated between my mother's home and my Aunt Marie's (so no one person had to shoulder the burden of cooking and feeding and cleaning up after the thirty of us!). Both women are strong leaders and took the reins of the meal while cooking in their own kitchens; however, when they were a guest in each other's kitchens, they were more than happy to follow the leadership of the hostess. When cooking at Aunt Marie's, she was the leader and Mimi deferred to her completely; and vice versa when cooking in my mother's kitchen. The result? Year after year of glorious seven-course meals with nary a harsh word, argument or burned dish in sight!
In my family, we were always accepting of both my mother Mimi and my Aunt Marie as leaders, and having faith that your team is going to follow you is crucial to your success as a leader.
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From the Kitchen to the Corner Office: Mom's Wisdom on Leadership!