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How Listening to Your Mom Teaches You About Management

Always listen to your mother, the adage goes, because sooner or later you’ll realize she was right all along. Sometimes it’s hard to take mom’s advice. It might seem counterintuitive, overly protective, or just not practical, but there are a number of reasons that taking a mother’s word for it might make you look pretty good when working with coworkers.

Of course, mothers don’t have the answers to everything, and everyone’s mother is different, but there are many pieces of “traditional” motherly advice that can be very handy when considering your management style.

Financial advice

In many homes in the US, moms are the money managers. A study by American Express shows that moms handle household budgets around 70% of the time. Because of this, they know how to stretch a dollar to feed a whole family and have a real grasp on prioritizing what is important to spend on and what can go by the wayside.

There are so many mothers who follow this mindset that there are a plethora of blogs and resources, filled with tips from mothers to mothers about personal finance. By adapting financial processes from your mother’s habits of closely looking at pricing and instilling them at work, you will find ways to cut corners that you never thought possible, all while making the troops happy.

Responsibility is yours

Among the top pieces of motherly advice (as referenced in this Huffington Post article) is to make sure you have your own money. You can act like a good mother to your employees by giving them control of a reasonable budget and watching from afar to make sure they use it wisely. If you micromanage, you can easily undermine confidence within your workforce. But giving allowances and letting people work within a budget is a great way to breed responsibility and allow for innovation.

Spending and earning

How many times have you heard from your mother “Don’t spend more than you earn.” But how do you accomplish this? Spend time (like your mother did) carefully arranging a budget. Then talk through budgets with everyone relevant. Transparency here is key, people need to know what they should and shouldn’t spend and why. In this, leading by example is always the best way to get the point across.

Call once in a while

Creating good morale among your co-workers is imperative. Just like with mom, encourage your employees to communicate with you. This means having an open door policy and making sure your employees understand that they can always come to you. In addition, you may want to create opportunities to “check in” from time to time. These can be at company functions or set weekly meetings, but everyone wants to know that they can be heard and some people will need to be invited to the table as well.

Plan for anything

Moms know that some days plans can undoubtedly go out the window. After juggling six different crises before lunch, the best mothers still keep it together. Make sure you are flexible when plans change. It will make you a better manager in the long run.

Give yourself a break

Sometimes, when things seem dire, it’s time to step back. Engaging head-on with chaos can breed more chaos. When asked for funny parenting tips, mother and author Paige Kellerman said “It’s ok to justify not meeting any of your goals, with, ‘At least I remembered to feed the kids.’” Some days the small victories have to be enough.

The story that mothers know best might not always be true, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use motherly advice that makes sense to the fullest. Want more advice from moms on how to foster a successful life? Check out the infographic below from, with quotes from famous mothers like Michelle Obama on what they do to get ahead in the world.

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