The Real Reason Why Moms are best Suited to Run BusinessesOct 04, 2023
There’s a reason moms are well-suited to run a business - because running a business is like running a household. I mean, have you ever thought about it that way? Just last week I was having a discussion with my business coach about training a new employee. I was making a lot of assumptions about what she knows and has been taught. I believed that she could just jump in and do the particular task I was hoping she could complete without much help or feedback. My coach pointed out she may not know what to do and it’s important that I show her.
That reminded me of my kids. The first time I wanted my daughter to make her bed, I said, “Go make your bed.” She had watched me do it countless times. Of course she knew exactly what to do - right? Well, not exactly. Once I taught her the steps, how to tuck the sheets and a few other skills she was able to practice until she got it right.
The point here is don’t assume your staff knows exactly what to do and how to do it. You will likely need to demonstrate and will absolutely need to lead by example. Then, give them time to practice to get it right. And, just like your kids at home, if you have followed all the steps and your employee is still not meeting expectations, then you implement a consequence. That may mean removing job responsibilities, missing out on a promotion, or in the worst case, letting them go. I realize we can’t just get rid of our children (although sometimes I really want to); however, when we know they are capable and just choosing not to comply, there are varying levels of consequences involved. It’s not much different in business.
What I do NOT encourage you to do is rely on what most moms default to - not holding them accountable and trying to do it all yourself. Just last week I folded laundry and placed neat piles outside of each kid’s bedroom. When they see the piles, they know it’s time to put the clothes away. One child immediately complied; the other left a few shorts and T-shirts in the hallway. I did not pick them up and put them away myself. Yes, it was a sore sight on my eyes. No, I did not like the mess. However, he understands that the reason he is not allowed to go out this week is because he decided to ignore his household duties for something fun that he would “rather be doing.” Had I picked up the clothes, he would come to expect me to always do that. There would be no reason for him to actually do the work.
This is also true of your employees. When you take on all the tasks yourself, it’s simple for others to sit back and not take responsibility. Delegate instead. Explain what you want done, how long it should take, and the consequences of not doing it. For example, if you tell employees to complete documentation, and their pay is at a minimum partly contingent on those notes being complete, DO NOT do it for them. That includes finalizing superbills, putting in payment, or whatever else is necessary for complete documentation. When her check is lower because she missed a few notes, she’ll understand and make a change in her behavior.
Lastly, business involves compromise. Even if you are the boss, you will not always get your way. Part of being a good leader is understanding the needs of your staff, or even your partners. Sometimes, you need to listen to what others are saying and meet them in the middle, even if you believe your way is right. I’m sure you can think of countless times you have argued with your partner, only to end up at a stalemate, going to bed angry and not speaking for days. I know in our family, my stubborn attitude does not always leave my husband feeling happy he chose to spend the rest of his life with me. Sometimes, I will “suck it up” and let him choose the restaurant or the movie, or not purchase that new dress I’ve been eyeing for weeks. The initial disappointment of not getting my way usually subsides after a bit without any additional harm to the relationship. In the office, your staff and partners may have great ideas they are willing to run with. Even if they are not yours, or you do not agree 100%, they likely will benefit the business as a whole. As a leader, part of your role is to develop the strengths of your team. And this may mean letting them “win” from time to time.
The next time you are faced with a business challenge or employee dilemma, I encourage you to think about how you would handle it with your children or partner at home. What steps would you take to empower them, hold them accountable, and develop yourself as a leader? Use these same steps to approach the challenge in your business and watch your desired results come rolling in.