Friday, May 18, 2012

What Managers and Moms Have in Common

Mothers are called a lot of things: nurturers, disciplinarians, rememberers of lost things, nurses, and comforters, among a host of other things.  One thing most mothers are not called, however, is “manager.”

Of course, when you think of managers, you think of businesses, employees, budgets, and so forth.  Not exactly the kind of associations you necessarily want to attach to the strong woman who raised you and kept the family together. 
But mothers and managers are more alike than we would admit on the surface — especially the good ones.  Take a moment to think of the characteristics a good mother and a good manager share:

A good manager should be more than a link in the chain of command.  A good manager will identify weak points in employees and try to make them stronger by offering encouragement or new responsibilities. 
A good mother, it goes without saying, also acts as a mentor for her children.  As they grow and learn, a mother will continue to teach her children new lessons about the world, and will give them more responsibility as she sees fit.  Of course, mothers can’t promote their children when they’ve done something well, but they can perpetually raise them up and offer support or guidance where necessary.

When great employees are asked from where they get their inspiration, often times the answer is either a manager or a mother (sometimes both).  Why is this?  Because managers and mothers are both inspirational figures who impress and amaze their employees and children by their tireless feats of wisdom, strength, and boldness.  Maybe mothers do this a little more often than managers, but the truth is that great managers should be examples to their employees, and the same is true of mothers.  Study after study proves that the best way to teach is by example, and mothers and managers should both be examples of greatness.

Another characteristic of good managers is that they reproach their employees when necessary, and do so in a constructive way.  Managers can’t let harmful behavior continue, but they also have to negotiate the best way to stop it from happening.  Often they do this by praising the employee for her good qualities while also giving feedback about the negative in a way that is helpful but stern.  Similarly, mothers have to discipline their children when they are misbehaving, but in a way that communicates love.  Being too negative or overly harsh only makes children (and employees) resentful, so mothers (and managers) have to walk a thin line between discipline and devastation. 

Of course, probably the most obvious feature that they share is the management of their respective realms.  Fathers are typically considered the bread-winners and heads of the household, but everyone knows that mothers are really the ones who are in control, and who are keeping things running smoothly.  So give your mothers a hug, and give your managers a handshake, and thank them for being such a positive influence on your life — just make sure you don’t confuse them.

This is a guest post by Kristie Lewis from construction management degree. You can reach her at: Kristie.Lewis81 @ gmail. Com. 

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