From Cribs to Boardrooms: What Parenthood Taught Me About Leadership

June 7, 2023

Nicky Wang, CEO, WE Red Bridge

Becoming a first-time mother has been an extraordinary journey filled with joy, challenges and countless life lessons. As I embarked on this adventure, I couldn't help but notice the striking similarities between the principles I apply in running a business and those I use in parenting my nine-month-old Max.

From data-driven decision-making to lifelong learning, the parallels are remarkable. Here are the key lessons Max taught me about effective leadership. 

Use quality data to drive your decisions

In the realm of parenting, the abundance of contrasting advice can leave you feeling overwhelmed. It's like navigating a maze of conflicting opinions on everything from what to feed to how to sleep.

Try sifting through advice on sleep training — some claim you need to start at three months, others insist on waiting until six months, while a few insist sleep training will have an adverse effect on the child’s psychology.

Similarly, in the business world, we are bombarded with fragmented data points and often flimsy research papers. These need to be carefully cross-referenced so that you can make informed and strategic decisions. Remember, in both parenting and leadership, it's the power of organized, quality data that guides us toward success.

Embrace lifelong learning

Being a first-time mother is a crash course in adaptation and continuous learning. From mastering diaper changes to deciphering the cues of a crying baby, there’s always something new to discover.

The same holds true in the ever-evolving world of business. Staying ahead requires a commitment to lifelong learning, whether it’s understanding emerging technologies like AI or adapting to shifting market trends. Embracing a growth mindset allows us to navigate the dynamic landscape and continuously evolve as leaders.

Remember to care for yourself, too

Maintaining a balance between work and family is crucial, but let’s not forget about self-care. As a new parent, finding time for yourself, your partner and your friends are all equally valuable. Just like setting boundaries with naptime, set boundaries for the many aspects of your life that are all so meaningful and collectively make you feel whole.

Balance is key; just remember to keep yourself in that equation.

The fresh perspective of youth

Motherhood has granted me a fresh perspective and an unexpected wellspring of strength. The experience of nurturing and witnessing Max’s growth has reminded me of our profound impact as leaders.

The challenges and triumphs of motherhood mirror those encountered in running a business. Both require resilience, adaptability and a relentless drive to create a better future. The moments of chaos and unpredictability serve as catalysts for personal growth and the development of strong leadership skills. If you can survive that first poopy diaper change, you can handle just about any C-suite presentation.