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Attracting Mothers to LLL Leadership

Sylvia Mitchell
Winnipeg MB Canada
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 43 No. 3, July-August-September 2007, p. 56

When was the last time you were approached by a mother with an interest in LLL leadership? Did it feel like a compliment to you? It should feel special. After all, your leadership skills attracted her interest. If it's been a while since you've been complimented in this way, the reverse approach -- complimenting the mothers in your Group -- may lead to a member's interest in becoming a Leader.

Attracting mothers to leadership is often done unconsciously, woven into the fabric of all you do as a Leader. When you listen carefully and empathetically to mothers describing their breastfeeding difficulties, you are demonstrating leadership. Taking time to research your LLL materials tells the mothers you care enough to do so. This may encourage them to attend Series Meetings, and even develop future interest in leadership.

At your meetings, greet mothers warmly and compliment their healthy babies. Help them feel welcome, special, and at ease in the new environment. Remember to thank the hostess and those who brought snacks (asking for a recipe is very complimentary), and show appreciation to those who contribute to the discussion. When you introduce the Group Treasurer and Librarian, thank them for the wonderful jobs they are doing.

When you display the new Thinking About La Leche League Leadership? (compact version) at your Series Meetings, you will see who is interested in leadership. (See "Announcing New Pre-Application Materials for Mothers and Leaders," LEAVEN, April-May-June 2007, pages 30-31.) Evaluation Meetings are ideal settings to introduce and discuss LLL philosophy. Refer to your LEADER'S HANDBOOK (Chapter Five) for examples of questions to help you open this discussion. Share one or two personal experiences with the concept of mothering through breastfeeding. Point out that LLL philosophy is contained within the pages of THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING, and that the LLL concepts are based on the needs of the baby. Draw attention to situations when mothers' actions reflect LLL philosophy by complimenting them. Be sure to answer questions and clarify any misunderstanding of LLL philosophy. Invite mothers to approach you if they are interested in finding out more about our organization's structure or LLL leadership.

You'll recognize the mother who regularly attends meetings, is passionate about breastfeeding her baby, participates in the discussions, and has taken on a Group job -- she is an ideal candidate for leadership. Imagine the compliment she'll feel when you approach her about becoming a La Leche League Leader. During your one-on-one meeting, you'll have lots of opportunities to let her know how much you appreciate all she does and how it strengthens your LLL Group. For instance, you could thank her for bringing new mothers to meetings, which broadens the breastfeeding discussions and can result in increased memberships and more Group helpers. Share the joys and rewards leadership has brought you. Discussing her understanding of the concepts naturally leads to a continued discussion about how her experiences reflect LLL philosophy. Several opportunities are sure to present themselves as the mother talks about her experiences of mothering through breastfeeding.

It feels good to give and receive a compliment. You have the chance to do just that at LLL meetings. If you need help with how to approach a mother about LLL leadership, your Area's Leader Accreditation Department (LAD) representative welcomes your inquiries. Contact information can be found in your Area's Directory or on the LLLI Web site.

And if this article motivates you to make LLL leadership attractive to mothers, I'll take that as a compliment and I thank you.

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