Five Leadership Tips to Make your Mama Proud

As a teenager I can vividly remember my mom saying, “You know, Elizabeth, your mother is always right.”  In most case, this phrase followed the lesson that I didn’t want to hear and would immediately trigger a roll of the eyes, a huff and a puff, and a sulk off to my room to chat on the phone with my girlfriends.

The older I get and the more time I spend reflecting on decisions and directions in my life, I have to admit – Mom, yet again, you were right.  When I stop and think about who inspired me to become a career women it was most certainly my mom.  To this day, her work ethic is unmatched…she is loyal, reliable, and has some of the best customer service skills on record at the large, multi-billion dollar company that she has been with for over 20 years.

Here are some of the simplest but greatest words of wisdom that my mom has shared with me that can make us all better leaders.

  1. Be nice to everybody. It doesn’t matter if it is the janitor or the c-level executive, when you treat people with respect, it speaks volumes about your character.  This doesn’t need to be complex or over-thought – try smiling at people in the hallway or greeting people with a “good morning.”
  2. The customer is always right. Always listen to and respect your customers.  They are the heart of any business and no matter how trivial the request, it deserves an ear and a voice.
  3. If you don’t ask for it, you won’t get it. Is it a raise, a promotion, recognition?  Some Most times you need to ask for the things you want.  Be bold, take your career into your own hands – after all, you are responsible for your own destiny.
  4. Make friends. We spend a lot of our time with “work people”.  Connect, share, and take time for them. You never know who your next boss might be (see #1).
  5. Always act like a lady (or gentleman). Let’s remember the basics – have class, don’t be crass, dress for success, and mind your manners.  It is much easier to respect leaders who respect themselves.

Let’s all vow to get over the fact that we all become our mothers (or fathers) and be grateful for the lessons and inspiration they gave us.  Thanks, Mom, you are still always right.

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  • 1
    Fran Lester
    January 26, 2011 - 11:43 am | Permalink

    Wonderfully put – your mom should be proud!!!!

    • 2
      January 26, 2011 - 12:15 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the kind remark, Fran! The “proud” feeling goes both ways – she set such a fine example!

      Please keep reading and keep the feedback coming.

      Thanks for the support,

  • 3
    Steve G
    January 28, 2011 - 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Liz –

    I bookmarked this post as one to follow up on.

    Very thoughtful post – one of the things I took from your work on the “5 Leadership Tips That Would Make Your Mom Proud” is that you never know who or what shapes your life…

    I know for me, while I was growing up (and knew everything at the age of 16 – I was a quick study! j/k), I would put off several things as just my parents or an adult telling me what to do. It wasn’t until now, as an adult, that I realize just who and what shaped my life. It wasn’t just my parents – it was teachers, coaches, – all impacted my life in one way or another. It wasn’t just what they said, but just as impactful, what they did that had an influence on how I lead others today. (Don’t Mistake Patience For Ignorance is one “thing” that has stuck with me since I heard it in grammar school!)

    Funny, the more you reflect on your life, the more you learn – says something about the need to keep studying yourself as much as you study others!

    Thanks Liz for your thoughts and reminding me how lucky I am to have my mom!


    BTW – One of my mom’s favorites was…”The Way To Someone’s Heart Is Through Their Stomach!” She makes a great lasagna!

    • 4
      January 28, 2011 - 4:29 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the thoughtful comments, Steve. Indeed it does amaze me how many people make such a huge impact on our decisions and our path in life.

      Keep enjoying your mom – especially the lasagna!

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