Everything We Need to Know About Public Leadership, We Learned from Mom

12 Oct

Just in time for the 2012 Vice Presidential Debate, some bi-partisan leadership lessons for American politicians and public leaders from American Moms…

1.    You’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar!

You should treat everyone with respect, the way that you would want them to talk to your mother. Just because you are really mad, or sure of yourself, is not a reason to be disrespectful, arrogant, stubborn, or engage in name calling.

2.    Two heads are better than one!

There is not a leader in the world that is more powerful and effective than a diverse, actively engaged, educated group working toward common goals.

3.    There is more than one way to skin a cat!

When hundreds, thousands, or millions of people are involved – there is no one right answer. Evaluate different options and opinions to avoiding falling victim to the arrogance that there is only one way to reach the same goal. “My way or the highway/Love it or leave it” mottos are inadequate and inappropriate for Democratic governance.

4.    Your job is to go to school!

Every citizen, every politician, every leader, every parent, and every child has a responsibility to stay educated – from a variety of sources.

5.    Money does not grow on trees!

You cannot spend money you don’t have, no matter how mad you are or how injured your pride is, or how much you just really, really, want to. You have to do with less or stick to a budget for how you will earn it/pay it back.

6.    If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you do it, too?

Just because all of the people in your party, department, unit, place of worship, or group think it’s a great idea, does not make it so. Think for yourself. Question everything.

7.    If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

There is never a reason to make personal attacks on your adversaries.

8.    Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

Surrounding yourself with others who think exactly like you do may make you feel confident all the time, but it rarely ever ends well.

9.    Just wait until your father gets home!

Separating yourself from the unpleasant parts of leadership by pushing the problem down the road will undermine your authority, and encourage distrust and disrespect for your leadership. It also won’t solve anything.

10.  Quitters never win and winners never quit!

If you give up, you will never reach the goal or know whether you could have made a difference. If you don’t stand up to vote or lead, you really can’t complain when things are not handled well.

And the most important lesson of all:


The work of leading, collaborating, building consensus, striving for a more perfect union – must be a daily routine, not a photo op. The other “guy” is not the enemy. We are all working toward a more perfect union and will have to continuously evolve and adapt to the needs at hand.

We believe the time for using our indoor voices has past. It’s time to use our LEADERSHIP VOICES!

It is time for a new model of public leadership for our elected officials, government and civic leaders: a model based on how mothers work across ideological and party lines with each other every day to get things done. It is time for civility and conversation. If you agree, we hope you’ll join in and help us re-frame the divisive chest-thumping debate in 2012 into a time to find our core shared values again.

Democrat or Republican, Liberal or Conservative: We are all Americans.


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Click below for our first flyer. As we keep gathering messages, we will certainly add to it!

Everything We Need to Know about Leadership We Learned from Mom


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