What should you do when someone cries or laughs at work? The same thing a go-giver, loving mother would do. Discern what provoked the emotion then seize the moment to support their greater self-understanding and confidence — and your relationship. No matter what some assert about the need to manage (aka stifle) our feelings at work, “It’s always personal” writes Anne Kreamer.
We are happier and higher-performing when we can bring our full self to work, in an atmosphere where differences are welcomed and caring and civility are too, just as in a healthy family.
Few Companies Prove That They Actually Care, Does Yours?
Trust is everything. Companies that experience enduring success prove that they want to understand us, appeal to our positive emotions and to support our needs and interests, just as loving mothers do. Often, mothers put their children’s needs before their own. Sure, traditional business wisdom asserts that the first goal of a company is greater profitability.
Yet demonstrably putting your customers first, even if such actions are not in the short-term financial interest of the firm, creates deeper customer and employee loyalty, and company growth over time. So discovered Chris Malone and Susan T. Fiske, co-authors of The Human Brand. In fact, that’s what lead to Domino’s Pizza’s turnaround with a “warts and all” transparency, allowing customers to easily say what they think of their pizza via an online tracker, and by swearing off food styling, showing their pizzas as they really look. Like a loving mother they know that telling the truth, and encouraging others to as well, ultimately cultivates candor, trust, mutually learning and healthier, closer relationships.
“Logic will never change emotion or perception.” ~Edward de Bono
What Would Mother Do First?
Like a caring mother, to spur trust and loyalty, first show warmth of intent and then competence. Both Malone and Fiske have found that to be true for companies and Harvard professor, Amy J.C. Cuddy discovered it’s always how we respond to each other. That’s a key factor in how we make choices as customers and as children, learning from our parents. As Keith Ferazzi aptly put it, “Who’s Got Your Back?
That’s probably why Pure Matter CEO, Bryan Kramer’s message spread so quickly and inspired him to turn it into a video-embedded eBook, “There is no B2B and B2C. Human to Human.” Why video-embedded? Because his focus was on mutuality – where companies consistently shine a spotlight on others’ great work. Thus they foster deeper, more mutually beneficial relationships between their stakeholders, from customers to employees and vendors.
Loving Mothers Don’t Have Favorite Children But Happy Families
A loving mother recognizes that the best way to support her children’s success and happiness in life is to give earned praise, and demonstrate caring, flexibility, warmth, competence and confidence. Yet it is also to not focus on having a child-centered family but rather a healthy family.
As Melinda Blau describes in Family Whispering, that approach nourishes all family members. Similarly a healthy work culture isn’t focused on creating stars but nourishing those who actively support each other in using best talents together. Imagine your workplace culture becoming one where people were rewarded and recognized as MVPs, valuable players who focused on the best outcome for “us.” As The Progress Principle co-author Teresa Amabile found, this fosters more frequent experiences of meaning and conviviality at work. Sound like a healthy family?
Perhaps we don’t have to squabble at work, as siblings sometimes do. If, as Help the Helper co-authors demonstrated, professional athletes can be coached to put the team’s interest first, then perhaps so can we. We think it would make our mothers proud. What do you think?
Because you probably spend considerable time at work, when you falter in fostering caring at work, consider acting applying the Family Effect to what you say and do while there:
“No one is ever quite ready; everyone is always caught off guard. Parenthood chooses you. And you open your eyes, look at what you’ve got, say “Oh, my gosh,” and recognize that of all the balls there ever were, this is the one you should not drop. It’s not a question of choice.” ~ Marisa de los Santos, Love Walked In