- Date : 22/12/2020
- Read: 4 mins
Vice-President-elect of the United States, Kamala Harris attributes her success to her mother, Dr Shyamala Gopalan. Her mother’s fighting spirit and ‘Don't sit around and complain about things, do something’ attitude is Harris’ driving force.
First woman. The first woman of colour. First South Asian-American to have been elected as the Vice-President of the United States of America, Kamala Harris has created history. Her momentous victory is a significant achievement not only for her country, but it has also inspired millions of young women around the globe to believe that no mountain is too high to climb. The 56-year-old US senator from California is also a wife and mom; married to Douglas Emhoff and stepmother to his two children, Cole and Ella.
Having shattered the glass ceiling, Kamala's journey to the top has been fraught with challenges.
She emerged as a competent, intellectual and highly qualified leader who embodies the perfect combination of hard and soft skills and here’s what new-age moms can learn from her resilience.
1. Don’t give up on your ambitions even when you become a mom
One of the many struggles women encounter is balancing their professional lives with motherhood. You are likely to face several situations when you would be torn between work and motherly duties. There will be times when your work would take precedence over your children. The key to strike a balance and not feel guilty for not showing up for your children is being open and honest about it with them. Your kids will appreciate the sacrifices you make for them. With transparent communication, childcare support, and flexibility, you can lead effectively and honour familial commitments.
2. Use the power of your voice to stand up for your values
Women have been conditioned to be humble and not express their opinion. But, as a successful leader, it is important to wield the power of your voice with pride to make a difference. Being able to unapologetically stand up for issues and values you strongly believe in (even if it’s uncomfortable to talk about) is empowering and you should share that power with others, especially other women. Also, own your expertise. Don’t shy away from talking about your principles, accomplishments, and experiences. A bold mother who claims her voice will pave the way for her children and many more young women.
3. Be driven by purpose
Kamala always emphasised on making your own unique contributions to issues that matter to you.
Ask yourself what do you want to achieve, and why do you want to achieve it? And let that purpose navigate your actions. Challenge policies and opinions if required. Regardless of your gender, believe in your ability to influence others and make an impact with your work, message and decisions to bring about a positive change in society. Dream with ambition, lead with conviction and envision yourself in a way that others may not, simply because they’ve never seen it before. Having clarity about the purpose behind your ambition will open many doors for you.
4. Find solutions to problems
Harris was encouraged by her mother to take action instead of sitting around and complaining about problems. Solutions are out there, and leaders must know how to listen, lead with empathy, and get things done. This pragmatic advice is a winning quality of a visionary leader. While your children are growing up, they will turn to you to troubleshoot their problems. Lead by example. Don’t just tell them how you felt when you were faced with problems and challenges, but make sure you are able to tell them what measures you took to overcome them. Your proactive approach towards tackling sticky situations will set the tone for them.
5. Develop your emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is the quality that merges our heads with our hearts and is a prerequisite for strong leadership. Along with confidence, one can learn from Kamala’s ability to strike the right balance between determination and grace when responding to criticism by detractors. The key to behaving gracefully lies in building your emotional intelligence. Assert your point but speak in a non-aggressive voice and language. The better you are at identifying and managing your emotions, the easier it is to maintain a composed, professional demeanour and communicate effectively.
6. Don’t forget your roots
One of the most endearing qualities of Kamala is her attachment and love for her heritage. Despite being the most powerful woman in the US, the Vice-President-elect always remembers where she came from. A grounded and humble approach to life is a strong virtue of a leader. It helps you earn respect and attract people towards you. 5 Inspiring Global Women Politicians Who Made A Difference.