Mother’s Day is here and with it comes the appreciation of moms everywhere who give tirelessly and selflessly to raise their children. For many, Mom continues to be an influence on their lives well through adulthood, and for others like me, we lost them much, much too soon.
But in any event, the impact our mothers and fathers have on who we become as people and Leaders cannot be underestimated.
When I think of the Leader I have become, there are so many things that I can trace right back to my Mother. It seems like most of the things we learned at a young age resonate exponentially through the decades in a way that new experiences never can - which makes the formative lessons that moms teach even more impactful upon their young charges.
That said, my Mom Alice (and of course my father Tom) were great role models for me. I will focus on what I learned from Dad in a Father’s Day special on June 20th – but today is all about Mom!
Mom’s are always of Service. Mothers sacrifice, that’s for sure. They give their time and service for the family. Whether they are mediating family disputes, driving the kids to fencing lessons (in my case bowling), or helping with homework, moms are a great example of servant Leadership. When the spirit of infectious giving is a part of your leadership style, your team can’t help but fall in with you to march to victory. Moms are also a great role model for how we should treat our Guests. They are models of Customer service, and let’s face it, they always seem to know what their kids want before they do – talk about a great way to drive Customer loyalty.
Moms always remember their children are all different. I’m not insinuating that you treat your team or Customers like children. However, we can learn something here. When we talk about leading our teams and taking care of our Customers, remembering that one size NEVER fits all is one of the most important pillars of success. Just like siblings are never carbon copies of one another, your employees and your Customers are all very different as well. Practice the idea of situational leadership and individualized service to apply these learnings to your day-to-day business.
Moms remember to celebrate. Most moms are pretty good at never forgetting a birthday, making sure that grades are well displayed on the kitchen refrigerator, and never missing a chance to brag on their children. Leaders can learn from that by making sure that they always find time to reward, recognize, and celebrate the amazing efforts of their teams. Let’s face it, when it comes to inspiring amazing customer service from frontline associates, there is no substitute for treating your team the way you want them to treat your Customers! Mom taught us that lesson first: Never skimp on the praise and make sure everyone knows that he or she is valued.
Moms encourage. Along with recognition certainly comes encouragement. We all have those days that seem to beat us into the ground, and we probably had our first experience with how great it feels to be picked up when we’ve been knocked down from our moms. Do the same when your associates, coworkers, or managers are having a bad day. Become skillful at recognizing employees who need a little extra attention and give them the encouragement they need to deliver fantastic experiences at the moment of truth.
Moms remind us of our values and help us live up to them. As leaders one of our biggest responsibilities is to make sure we set the stage for success. That comes from making sure we are incredibly clear about what our expectations are and that we never waver from our core values. Mom taught us that we should never stray from who we really are and to stay true to ourselves. Our teams and our customers want to know that our beliefs and our mission can counted on to be rock solid. That’s a big responsibility, but I can tell you the clearer I’ve been in my career with my teams the better results we’ve seen. Just as you know that one of my core values is to treat Customers as cherished friends - your values must be just as clear and concise. The second you deviate, your words lose impact and become just so much hot air.
Finally, mom taught us to treat people how we want to be treated. That translates more into treating your customers the way they want to be treated. If you want to get a good feel for what that looks like, treat them the way you’d want your most beloved family members to be treated when they’re out for dinner or getting an oil change. The other piece is to make sure that you treat your front associates exactly the way you want them to treat your Customers. The fact is that if you treat them well you have a much better chance of them treating your guests well. It’s not a perfect equation, but it gives you a much better chance than if you treat them poorly. Because poorly treated and led front line associates deliver lousy Customer service almost 100% of the time.
This is all by way of saying that our mothers were instrumental in giving us our first glimpse of what makes up great Customer service and Leadership. Most of us didn’t know it at the time, but we were being given a great gift – and I don’t know about you, but I sure wish I would have paid better attention. There are some deep life lessons there and in between the doses of embellishment at our various skills and making sure we didn’t grow up to be miscreants, she taught us all some pretty amazing values.
So be sure you are treating your Mother so very well today and everyday. I have been blessed with those who stepped in when my Mom was taken – My Aunt Reta, My Dad, my sister, and later in life, my Mother-in-Law Michelle, and my wife Melissa (who was an amazing influence on my son).
Por Tony Johnson, Customer Service Expert | Author | Trainer | Speaker