Absent Fathers, Supportive Mothers

Some experts say the combination of a distant father and a nurturing mother is especially potent in awakening the leadership potential of their sons. "There is evidence that many successful male leaders had strong, supportive mothers and rather remote, absent fathers," Manfred Kets de Vries, a professor of leadership at France’s INSEAD business school. He cited Jack Welch, Richard Branson, and Bill Clinton. And Andrew Davidson, a writer for Management Today who spent 10 years interviewing entrepreneurs, said in a 2001 article that he had "lost count of the times I have sat in a room with a successful man telling me how close he was to his mother.

From Brent Bowers’ 8 Patterns of Highly Effective Entrepreneurs.

3 comments on “Absent Fathers, Supportive Mothers
  • Interesting. I was just listing to Michael Medved’s radio show where the guest was Osama Bin Laden’s biographer and he was stating how OBL was not at all close to his father- probably since his father had 54 children.

    What a leader he turned out to be.

  • Or is this correlation not causation? Could those with the entrepreneurial, self-guided, driven personalities be more likely to be busy with their own stuff to spend time with their kids, and then pass those genes on to their sons? Certainly a possibility.

  • Losing a parent early in life has been often discussed as a driving factor in the lives of particularly driven people. Most researches however focus on MEN, and not enough on women!

    In my experience, not having a mother drives women in ways that may differ in how the motivation shapes up but yields pretty much similar end-results. Absence of a father however in social research is almost always shown to have a negative, disruptive outcome.

    I’d interested to hear views on possible hypothetical explanations 🙂

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