Happy Mother's Day! Today, we're going to talk about what Beyonce, Michelle Obama, Leonardo DiCaprio, Charlize Theron, and Michael Jordan's moms can teach leaders. What are the qualities that are often associated with good mothers and that can also be beneficial for leaders? Keep reading or watch the following video for more... and yes: if you are watching the video, the first image is my own mom holding me as a baby... Because if I am going to talk about lessons from moms, I must include the ones I have learned from mine, in my eyes, the most wonderful mom of all!
1. BEYONCE: HAVE THEIR BACK
Beyonce once said: "At every turn, Mom, you pushed me to be better." Because having somebody's back doesn't mean always being on their side and defending them.
My mom too, had my back: When I was young, I had been bullied and had responded to my bully. In front of everybody else, my mom stood up for me. She had my back. I was so proud of her stepping in as my superhero. We sat in the car, I was just about to thank her for her Wonder Woman behaviour when she said: "I'm very disappointed with you. You are better than this. It doesn't matter if somebody was not nice to you. You didn't have to lower yourself to their level." She said: "In front of everybody, I had your back because I will always have your back. But between you and I, you know better and you can be better."
When is the last time you sided with your team member in public, and then after that, when you were alone, discussed what they potentially had done wrong? One of my clients once had a problem with an intern and she said: "I think I'm going to have to bring it up to management. It's not working. He's lying to me." And I said: "Well, yeah, that's on you. Have you done anything in order for him to believe you have his back? He chose to lie to you because he thought that you would potentially not react well if you were aware of the mistakes that he had made." Because he was lying and trying to hide his mistakes from her.
Have their back. And if you do, they'll be honest with you and you'll have a better way to communicate...
...Which brings me to my second point: Communication.
2. MICHELLE OBAMA: COMMUNICATION
Michelle Obama's mother tells her: "You raised yourself. I did not. It was all you." Because her mom was able to empower her to become the person that she is today. And on a much smaller scale, because we're not all going to become Michelle Obama, of course) a good leader needs to be able to communicate with their employees, with their team members.
My mom always knows exactly what to tell me. She sugarcoats sometimes to get the message through, but sometimes, she just says things as they are, because she knows what I can handle and how to communicate with me, what kind of language I understand.
You need to do that with your team as well and provide good feedback. I had a client who had a very negative staff member send him a long, frustrated letter. He said: "I don't understand. I have no idea what she's talking about. She's making it up. She's very negative and she's frustrated and she has problems, obviously." The problem is there was a lack of communication. And when he opened the door to have a conversation with her, everything came out easily. He used the technique that I taught him in order to listen better, and he understood that there were a few things that he did that were perceived as frustrating by his staff. Without that level of communication, he would not have been able to understand that. He became a better leader because he opened up the communication channels.
3. LEONARDO DICAPRIO: PATIENCE
Leonardo DiCaprio said, about his mom: "This woman drove me three hours a day to a different school to show me a different opportunity." They lived in a very underprivileged neighborhood and his mom had the patience to drive him all the way to a different school, even though it would have been easier not to.
My mom did the same thing with me. She drove me to a different school, away from the small town we were in. She drove me to specialized courses at night and then she would wait for a couple hours in the car, as an entrepreneur herself, doing her invoicing in the car as I was taking those courses. This is a lot of patience and a lot of sacrifices.
What are you doing with your team to be patient as a leader? Sometimes, it's much faster to do it yourself than to teach them, and sometimes it's easy to take the easy route. How are you being patient?
4. CHARLIZE THERON: FLEXIBILITY
Flexibility is the next one. Sometimes, you have to see farther. Charlize Theron says her mother always told her: "Go and make something of your life." And that was really brave of her to sacrifice a lot of time with her child. She always put her daughter first.
My mom has always been able to put me first. I remember moving to Toronto, away from her, and she said: "I'm going to help you move. No problem." We packed the car, she helped me move my stuff, and she went back home, away from her daughter.
You need to be flexible to adapt to what your team member has as a potential, as opposed to what you want for yourself. It's not about you. It's about letting them grow. Try not to make your staff fit a certain mold. Instead of adapting them to the role they're supposed to have, let them use their skills to find out what the mold could potentially be and let them fly on their own.
5. MICHAEL JORDAN: VISION
Michael Jordan's mom negotiated royalties with Nike. If you've seen the movie Air, you've seen this story, how his mom had a vision for him way beyond what he was capable of. We had not even started playing and she had this vision already. A good mother has a clear vision for the future.
With your team, just like my mom always had this vision for our family, you need to have a vision for your organization and see what can be next, not just what is best right now. What else is your team capable of? Share your vision with your team.
There you have them: Have their back, communication, patience, flexibility and vision. The five qualities that we can learn from all these celebrities.... And that I have also learned from my mom, at a much smaller scale. I'm not a celebrity, but I have learned so much from my mom. Thank you so much,
Mom, I love you with every fiber of myself. Thank you for everything you sacrificed for me and our family.
Happy Mother's Day, everyone!
WHY DO WE GET ALONG SO WELL WITH CERTAIN PEOPLE, BUT NOT WITH OTHERS?
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