Leadership Series: Baby Chicks

05-24-2012 7:28 AM

Today’s post is from René Wickham, Mary Kay’s Vice President of Product Quality.  René has worked for Mary Kay for 16 years. René shares her thoughts on leadership development.

René Wickham, Mary Kay’s Vice President of Product QualityYou’ve heard the expression "Leaders Are Born, Not Made"… haven’t you?   Well, I beg to differ.  I believe leaders are HATCHED!  That’s right, just like baby chicks, leaders are hatched.

Let me explain.  You see, my parents live on a farm, and they have chickens.  When one of their hens lays an egg, it takes 21 days of nurturing attention, care and warmth from the momma hen for the baby chick to hatch.  Without her loving care during the incubation cycle, the little chick would die.

Just like incubating eggs, “leaders-to-be” must hatch out of their shells.  We all have shells that must be broken down to release the real leader within.  Some shells are lack of confidence. Some shells are not recognizing our strengths. We all need the warmth, care, and attention of others to break through our shells. 

Mary Kay Ash had this concept down!  Her brilliant business model built leaders by placing women in positions to nurture, care for and mentor others who were finding their way to reach their dreams.   Mary Kay said that leaders TEACH, MOTIVATE and CARE.

The truth is that all of us are leaders in some way, and we have all been mentored, nurtured and cared for by someone helping us and teaching us along the way.  We must first learn to be leaders of ourselves, defining what we want in life and learning how to create the discipline in ourselves to pay the price through hard work and tenacity.  Many also are called to lead others either in formal leadership roles or as informal, influential leaders.  But our common bond is that someone has provided a helping leadership hand along the way.  A leader must believe in her people and in the common goal.

Independent National Sales Director Emeritus Arlene Lenarz said it so well: “Leadership begins with the heart, not the head.  You can love people and not lead them, but you cannot lead people without loving them.”  

People truly won’t care what you know until they sincerely know that you care.