Team Building Lessons I Learned from My Mom

Serve Like Your Mom

When we consider who we work with and how we interact with our team mates and clients we serve, picture your mom serving these people. How would she react? What would she do to make their day? How can we serve others like our moms serve us?

Serve ‘em Like Your Mama

There’s just something really special about moms. Nobody serves you like dear old mom, right? When I visit my childhood home, my mother serves me and my family like nobody’s business. She loves it. She cooks, cleans, washes dishes, listens to the latest news, and waits on us hand and foot. It gives her great joy to serve us because that’s how many mothers are – they are wired to serve. It’s part of mom’s DNA. We also do our part and help out when we visit, but there are times where she will tell us to just relax and not worry about anything (which I love to take advantage of every once in a while). Here are the qualities of mom-like service: – Think of others first. – Make people feel special. – Resolve issues quickly and lovingly? – Encourage people to work out their differences.

Think of others first.

Moms are awesome! My mom always seemed to be doing things for other people (namely, my dad, sister, and I). She cooked, cleaned, did our laundry (although she would get us to help just as soon as we could pick up a shirt). My mother seldom talked about herself or things she wanted. She seemed to be joyful and content making sure we were happy, well-fed, and growing as individuals. How does this translate to working with your team mates? We are often consumed with our needs and our tasks that need to be done. I’m not talking about shirking your duties, or blowing off your responsibilities to gab with your co-worker, I’m talking about a sincere desire to help others succeed and be willing to help out as needed.

Make people feel special.

They remember stuff like birthdays, anniversaries, what you want for Christmas, and your favorite underwear. They know how to make you feel special. (They also know how to make you feel like a tiny speck of dust, but we’ll save that for another post!) Moms are just good at serving. Period. It seems to be part of the way they were made. I see my wife doing the same thing for our family. Moms have a way of making you feel special just because of who you are – not because of what you have to offer. In your team, how can you make others feel special? Here are some suggestions: – Celebrate birthdays – Acknowledge work anniversaries – Celebrate team wins and individual accomplishments – Send get well cards if team members are sick or flowers if someone in their family has died – Get to know them as people (here are 5 quick ways to build rapport)

Resolve issues quickly and with love.

Have you ever felt the wrath of mom? It’s not fun, is it? Moms seem to have this toleration of stupidity beyond most normal humans. But, once you cross that line, look out! Mom morphs into this crazy creature that you would seriously want to avoid at all costs. Only, she’s your mom and she knows all your secret hiding places. Most of the time, she’s really good about resolving conflicts quickly. (My mom used a wooden spoon to resolve conflicts. There was love all over that flying flatware!) She also does it kindly, with love. Her motivation is not to shame you. It’s to teach you and to grow you as a person. Within our teams, how can we strive to teach others and grow others, even in the midst of conflict? We resolve the issue with a motivation to help the other person, not berate or embarrass them.

Encourage people to work out their differences.

When my sister and I were growing up and were fighting, my mom would sit us down at the table and would not allow us to get up until we worked out the issue. Pretty smart, mom! What did this do? It allowed us to come to a resolution by using our words. Not with fighting or arguing (which we inevitable still did), but by coming to a solution on which we could both agree. Does your team suffer from the gossip monster? Does your team complain about their coworkers but do little to resolve issues? Implement a quick and easy solution. It might take time to train people if this hasn’t been happening before, but it is worth it. Train your team to redirect their counterparts to the person they have an issue with. When you come to me and start to complain about someone else, merely ask, “Have you talked with that person about your concern?” Either you will get a blank stare, and they’ll turn and walk away, or they might respond, “No, but…” At this point, cut them off (don’t allow them to continue) and say, “It really sounds like you need to talk to them first. I haven’t been involved in this situation, so that would be the best thing to do.” Again, it may take some time to train all of your team, and some team members might need a re-direct from you personally (those especially resistant to this idea), but in the end, your team will be better, more trusting, and more confident in their coworkers. What team building lessons did you learn from your mom? How will you implement those in your team? Let me know in the comments below.

Photo courtesty of Bigtock Photo, ryelo357

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