CommunicationLeadership: Say it like a leader

Mum’s the Word (leaders say sorry)

By May 27, 2019August 6th, 2019No Comments
Me and mom

Word of the day today? “Mum”, as in “mom, mother, mommy, mama” or any variety of derivative. Today is Mother’s Day and is the time when we honor the woman who brought us into this world and/or who raised us. 

Word of the day today? “Mum”, as in “mom, mother, mommy, mama” or any variety of derivative. Today is Mother’s Day and is the time when we honor the woman who brought us into this world and/or who raised us. 

I use the term “and/or” because being a mother is so much more than giving birth. That’s where it begins. In many ways, that’s the easy part. The next 20 years–scratch that–the following lifetime is really what forges the relationship. How our mothers communicate with us helps to form how we communicate with others. That’s both the good and the bad news. We gravitate toward the familiar, the known, what we grew up with. If your mother gave you the cold shoulder when she was angry, you may find yourself doing the same. If your mom screamed and shouted when she was upset, you could be screaming and shouting. We gravitate toward the familiar.

The challenge is in making sure that what we’re doing is not just a habit, but is productive and works for us. There’s a smaller percentage of us who will recognize the non-productive behaviors our mothers may portray. In some way, it may feel disloyal to even admit that our moms aren’t perfect. Find solace in knowing that no one is, not even our moms. If we learn the lesson of what NOT to be, then we can still thank our moms for teaching.

Get the message out of the mess

The onus is on us to get the message out of the mess. Let me repeat that: Get the message out of the mess.

If you are fortunate to have a mom who was a great communicator, you learned at your mother’s hand many positive ways to interact. I was fortunate–learned from a master. Details of the incident escape me–what I most certainly remember is my mother’s reaction. When I was in my teens, and mom was scolding me for something or another, I remember thinking she was ranting and raving about some seemingly insignificant; something that to this day, I can’t even remember. The details of the incident and what I’d done don’t really matter — what happened next does.

I came home that evening to a note on the kitchen table. It was from my mother. It was an apology for her over-reaction. She said “sorry” for pointing the finger at me, that she was just tired and grouchy, exhausted from a grueling day at work (and no doubt from raising four active daughters) and her anger was misplaced. I took that lesson forward in my life and have drawn strength from it many times over.

Leaders know how to say “sorry”

What I learned that day impacts the way I communicate with others and affected the way I managed employees. I am never above admitting a mistake and saying “sorry” because I know I am most certainly human and anything but perfect. By her actions, my mother taught me that even people in authority positions aren’t infallible. She showed me that it takes confidence and strength of character to admit regret and that you messed up. As a result, that taught me that it’s not right to lash out at undeserving people and when you do (because you will at some point, we’re all human), it’s a big person who steps up to acknowledge and own that behavior, and to set it right with an apology.  Being on the receiving end, I can attest to the amazing impact this action had. It forged respect, rapport, and relationship. 

My mother passed away seven years ago. She was almost 90 years old and suffered from Alzheimer’s. My tiny “mini-mom” was a powerful force and influence. The lessons she taught me and so many others live on. For example, I impart her lessons to others through my sessions and writings, and the ripples reach further. As you read and share them too, they reach further still. There is no greater tribute to anyone than to carry on their lessons.

Remember, today as you honour your mother, think about how her communication style has affected yours. And if you’re a mother yourself, ask how your communication style is affecting your children and those in your life. My mom was past remembering these things, as Alzheimer’s had stolen parts of her cherished memories. She may have forgotten but I can assure, I never will. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

PS: LET’S CHAT ON FACEBOOK. I’d love to hear the communication lessons your mom taught you!
Just click here and select “like”. I look forward to hearing your comments on my daily posts!

Until next time,
Better communication, better business, better life, Marion Grobb Finkelstein
Keynote Speaker / Corporate Trainer / Author

Marion Grobb Finkelstein

Marion Grobb Finkelstein helps leaders use their natural communication strengths to build resilient teams that talk.

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