Mothers are great at giving their kids advice. We want what is best for them, and we are not afraid to offer tips, suggestions and other words of wisdom for all sorts of occasions. Some can be perfunctory like “drive safely,” and some can a little off-putting like “Because I said so, that’s why!”
It can be alarming when you hear your mother’s phrases coming out of your own mouth, but if you are a parent, you can be sure it will happen more than once. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing, though. Some of your Mom’s best advice can be adapted for business success. In honor of Mother’s Day, here are five of our favorite Momisms that can help you get ahead in your career.
Here are five of our favorite Momisms
1. Use the magic word. Using manners at work — including the magic word “please” – can help you stand out from the crowd. It can lead to a better office environment, a more loyal client base and even, if you play your cards right, a promotion. An NFI Research study showed that a whopping 95 percent of business executives said that they consider an employee’s manners when it comes time for promotions.
In addition to using your pleases and thank yous, other ways to show good manners at work include:
- not participating in or passing on gossip
- working with others as a team rather than taking the spotlight
- using a respectful, professional tone in all spoken and written office communication
- apologizing sincerely when you are wrong, avoiding excuses
2. Stand up straight! Your posture reveals a lot about you. Mom was right when she you told you not to slouch. A study conducted by the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and the J.L. Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto found that study participants felt more in control of various situations when they simply sat or stood in more authoritative positions. A side benefit was that they also found that they could tolerate pain and stress better when they used better posture.
Pay attention to how you stand and sit. Get into the habit of holding your shoulders back and your head high. Make eye contact with others, and lean slightly forward when you talk with them. You will convey interest in them and respect for yourself.
3. Just because everyone else is jumping off the bridge, that does not mean you should too. In the workplace, there is a fine line between being a team player and being an individual. When you can successfully walk that line, you prove to others that you are leadership material. Be known for being someone who cares about excellence, not just someone who goes with the flow.
4. Go outside and get some fresh air. There are times when the best thing you can do is to get away for a breather. In our technology-focused world, that can mean getting out of the office for some exercise. A physical change of pace offers us the opportunity to recharge our brains. In addition, by getting outside, we offer our bodies exposure to vitamins that are valuable to our health and wellness. According to Harvard University’s Health letter, sunlight increases our vitamin D levels, for instance. Research studies show that Vitamin D can help prevent certain conditions, ranging from osteoporosis to certain cancers.
Sunlight also works to elevate our moods. Research shows that the brain produces more serotonin, a mood-lifting chemical, when we are out in the sunshine. People who are affected by seasonal affective disorder usually have reduced levels of serotonin.
University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University researchers conducted a study to determine if sunlight had an effect on affected the moods and pain medication usage of patients who were about to undergo surgery. The study found that patients who were in bright, sunlit rooms reported lower stress levels and took less pain medication than patients who were in darker rooms.
6. Leave a place in better condition than you found it in. As with many of these rules, this one can have a literal meaning and a figurative one when it comes to your career.
The literal one can involve cleaning up after yourself. Let’s say you have a meeting in the boardroom. Do you and your team routinely leave trash and cups lying around when you are done? You can set a good example by tidying up before you leave. Also turn off all equipment, put the screen back where it was when you there. If you opened a window or turned on the air conditioner, put it back to where it was when you arrived. Lock the door if it was locked when you got there.
This Momism also can have more far-reaching adaptations when you apply it to people and to relationships. It may mean stopping to talk with that new co-worker to welcome him or her aboard. It could also mean being part of a workplace initiative to help the community in some way. Could your company adopt a school or a sports team, for example? Is there another local charitable organization your firm could support?
Many companies, both small and large, are able to encourage giving and to instill company loyalty at the same time by allowing their employees time away from work in order to volunteer for a good cause. The charity can reflect your company culture. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Habitat for Humanity
- Boys & Girls Clubs
- Animal shelters
- Make-A-Wish Foundation
- Health and research organizations for disease prevention
- Educational groups
This Sunday, when you honor your Mother, take the time to thank her for all the tried and true pieces of advice she has given you. You just never know when they will come in handy.