Sunday is Mother’s Day here in the U.S. I thought it would be fun to consider the important things mothers teach us, and how these lessons translate into business. 

While we may not appreciate hearing it at the time (or all the time), I have to say that your mom was right about a lot of things. 

Play nicely with others

If you run a business, or work as an employee, you will need to interact with other people and play nicely in the sandbox. While we may want to snap at someone or storm out of a meeting, that is considered bad form on the playground and in the conference room. 

Your success in business is often determined by how well you can play with others. 

Mind your manners 

I am confident that saying please and thank you in the workplace makes for a better corporate culture. Nobody likes being taken for granted. Most of us want to be seen and acknowledged for our hard work. 

Remembering to say please and thank you in as many business situations as possible will make you a great colleague, team member, and leader. 

Share and take turns 

Few people want to be in the meeting with that person who hogs the spotlight and refuses to give anyone else a turn. Most of us prefer to collaborate, and that means sharing and taking turns. Collaboration requires give and take from all participants. 

Sometimes you might lead, and sometimes you might follow. That will be determined by the situation. 

Think before you speak 

We’ve all blurted out things that we immediately regret. In a business situation, this can cause big problems and hurt feelings. It can be very helpful to learn to pause before you speak, especially if you are feeling triggered. 

This pause can save you from embarrassing situations, and days (or weeks!) of clean up. 

Clean up your mess 

Speaking of cleaning up, nobody is perfect and you will make a mistake, miss a deadline, or misinterpret something at work. Stuff happens. Rather than denying it or blame-shifting, take responsibility for what happened and clean it up. 

The dog didn’t eat your homework. Your colleague or vendor may have had a big part in the mess up, but own your piece of it and let people know how you are going to fix the issue. 

Ask for help 

Do you remember reaching for that big thing when you were little and watching it crash to the floor? There was frequently glass or spilled liquid involved. Your exasperated mother probably yelled, “Why didn’t you ask for help?” 

In the business world, it can feel hard to ask for help. Will someone think poorly of you? Will you look stupid? My recommendation is to ask for the help you need so you can do what you need to and move forward. 

Finish what you start

If you start a project or initiative, see it through to completion. Or, if you are going to cancel it, do it deliberately, telling yourself and anyone who needs to know that this is not going to happen. 

This way, you will stay productive and focused on the projects that will move your business forward. 

As I look through this list, I can see we actually learned a lot of helpful business lessons as kids. Your mom was right!

Thank you to all you mothers out there. You have the hardest job there is. 

Photo by Edward Cisneros on Unsplash