Image: My mom shows me an article she found on personal branding.
She still has absolutely no clue what I do.
But she likes that I like it.
Photo credit: My dad.
I've never seen my mom manage people at work. Only once did I visit her there. But to me she has always been a manager - she managed me and my sister directly.
The older I get and the more I observe, the more I go back to what she taught me about how to get people to perform at their best.
Briefly, my mom always did these 5 basic things and still does till this day:
- Publicly, defended me: Whenever anyone questioned my behavior, she immediately got on their case first, took my side, and then privately asked me for the facts.
- Privately, told me the truth: Never pulled punches or said something she didn't mean just to make me feel good.
- Everywhere, labeled me a star - and was happy for me: My mom encouraged me to take violin, piano, gymnastics, theater, everything. She helped me give a major national speech when I was ten years old (against cults, before the National Council of Young Israel - and I'm still fighting groupthink!). I did dance performances and musical recitals before I could spell. She grabbed opportunities for me to shine, and my success was hers.
- Made sure to always be there: Mom was always there for me first, even though she worked crazy shifts full-time - picked me up, took me everywhere, was the person at the other end of the telephone when I called.
- Told me that I had a good heart: No matter what mistakes I made, she always told me flat-out that she believed in me without question.
- It's not about continually exerting your authority - although a certain basic respect does have to exist or the working relationship can't. Trying to always show you're the boss is very "Mr. Rooney" (from the movie Ferris Bueller) - and as I recall his pants leg got chewed off by the end of that movie.
- It is about engaging people to do the very best job that they can do, and being the facilitator (community manager, offline gardener, shepherd, take your pick) who lets them shine.