How to Use Your “Mom Skills” in the Workplace
With Mother’s Day right around the corner, I have found myself reflecting more and more on what mothers do, day in and day out, as they strive to raise successful children. From this reflection, I have realized that many of the skills that mothers develop while raising their children are also very useful in the workplace. If you are a mom, think about utilizing these four mom skills beyond your interactions with your children by using them in your professional life.
Time out: Similar to how toddlers often need to be separated from situations that are upsetting them, your coworkers may need encouragement to remove themselves from situations at work that cause their blood to boil. While telling a coworker to “take a time out” is likely to backfire, you can suggest taking a break in order to collect their thoughts. You can also demonstrate how to take a “time out” at work by removing yourself from heated situations and coming back when everyone has had a chance to cool down. Leading by example will not only help to prevent disagreements from escalating, but it will also result in higher productivity among team members.
Multitasking: It shouldn’t come as a shock that moms are experts at multitasking. I have even witnessed a mother feeding her children while reading a book and helping with homework, all without breaking a sweat. So how can this mom skill can come in handy in the day to day operations of the workplace? While it is beneficial to focus on one task at a time, the chances of being able to devote your focus to one task throughout the work day is often unrealistic. Use your mom skill of multitasking while having a working lunch, tackling more than one project at a time, or organizing paperwork while speaking with a coworker. You may be so accustomed to multitasking that you aren’t even aware that you are doing it!
Staying on track: While the phrase “herding cats” is often used when trying to describe keeping a group of people on track during a meeting, I find that “herding toddlers” is often a more accurate description (and something that requires a great deal of mom skill). Just like with kids, adults often need assistance to stay on track; as a result, you may need to redirect their focus to the task at hand and engage them in conversation when you notice a lack of focus during a meeting. And when all else fails, use bribes. My toddler responds to lollipops and stickers but you may find coffee and donuts to be a better incentive for your coworkers.
Diffusing tantrums: One mom skill that should not be underestimated at home or at work is the ability to diffuse tantrums. In the workplace, diffusing a conflict or a misunderstanding is best done before it escalates to a “tantrum” by remaining calm and taking the time to truly listen to what the other person is saying. By doing this, you can find the root of the misunderstanding and talk through it without jeopardizing your relationships with coworkers.
These are just a few of the many skills that moms develop that are useful both at home and in the workplace. As we head into Mother’s Day weekend, don’t forget to show your appreciation for the moms in your life and all of their skills!