In honor of Mother’s Day yesterday, I put some thought into why mothers universally are so loved by their children. I have no idea what the surveys would show, but I am guessing that mothers rate as a category of human beings most loved. Though I am a father, I marvel at the connection that my wife has with my children, and vice versa.
I am aware that there are exceptions – I have some friends who have had very dysfunctional mothers and loving fathers… but again, these tend to be on aggregate the exception, not the norm. I take my role as a father as both the most enjoyable role I presently have as well as the most challenging one. I do not know what the answers are to all the situations my two kids seem to create every day. And sometimes, I respond to those situations poorly.
My wife seems to have a different approach to parenting than I do. For her, she could care less what the proper solution to a problem is. She just tries to make sure that through any and all experiences, good and challenging ones, that all parties can still love each other. She does this by making sure no one at our home goes to bed bearing ill will towards another. In this regard, she is similar to many moms. And I admire this high degree to emotional intelligence in mothers.
It made me think about life at work where adults spend most of their time. I thought of all the issues and challenges that we all face at work and the number of times people leave work incredibly ticked off at their peers, bosses, or the organization as a whole. I wondered if bosses, male and female, could actually integrate that maternal quality of making sure that through the scars of workplace challenges and battles—especially with those people whom they consider their relationship important—that employees felt safe and cared for (I’ll spare us the challenge of actually loving people we work with!).
I am reminded of a two very good mentors of mine… one was the boss of the other, and both were very good friends. A decision was forced on the boss to relieve his friend of his duties. The decision was executed. That evening, his friend showed up at the relieved friend’s home, and said, “I was forced to do what I did as a function of my job and role. I did not agree with it. But I am your friend. What can I do to help you?”
That happened about 13 years ago. The two of them and myself continue to have a wonderful relationship to this day. I remember thinking that this behavior was so out of the ordinary at the time. Why? Why are expressions of genuine care taboo in the workplace? Maybe this is one reason so many good mothers leave the workplace! This week, I want to ask you to show genuine care and compassion for those you work with. Do it in your own inimitable way.