The Top 5 Motherly Habits to NOT Employ at the Office (and 5 You Should)

Happy Mother’s Day for the home – not the office! When I was a young leader, I would occasionally fall into the trap of being “motherly” at the office. After all, I was raising three young children, so it was instinctive for me to be a mom to my employees, too. But hey, that’s not a good habit to develop at the office, for two reasons:

  1. I’m their leader, not their mother.
  2. I doubt anyone really wants his or her mommy at the office.

So let’s have some fun with it and talk about what moms shouldn’t do while leading at the office!

Top 5 motherly talents to NOT use at the office

  1. Don’t do the dishes when others leave them in the sink. If you always clean up after the team, they will expect it to be part of your job, not theirs. Find another way to serve your colleagues.
  2. Don’t wipe dirt off an employee’s face by spitting on a napkin. Yes, I know this is the fastest and most potent cleaning method we mothers know, but it’s not appropriate at the office. Instead, simply tell your teammate that their face is dirty and to go clean it before a client sees it.
  3. Don’t threaten an employee with comments like, “Wait till your father gets home!” or “Think of all the poor children on the other side of the world who would love that iPhone.”
  4. Don’t make an employee eat everything on their plate… unless the company is paying for it and you are on a profit sharing plan!
  5. Don’t punish an employee by sending them to their office. And no matter how much they are acting like your teenager, you can’t ground them from the car. That will give them an excuse to not come to work tomorrow!

Now moms, before you despair, there are motherly talents that can be used at the office!

Top 5 motherly talents that are very appropriate for the office

  1. Love your teammates. We lead others better when we truly love them. Develop a relationship that will allow you to get to know those you lead so that over time you know their heart, passion, and purpose.
  2. Be willing to offer up tough love and discipline. It takes a balance of care and candor to grow others. Be willing to have candid conversations with them, but do it in a way where they will grow from the exchange and not walk away feeling insecure and worthless.
  3. Say yes when you can so that when you have to say no it’s not questioned as unfair or dominant.
  4. Treat teammates as individuals. A great team is made up of many unique individuals. Lead them differently as needed. Lead in a way that you connect and influence with where they are. And don’t expect your team to adjust to your leadership. You should adjust as needed, but stay consistent and unwavering on your values.
  5. Teach your teammates. A great leader is usually a really good teacher. Don’t be stingy with your skill sets. When you see someone who would benefit from learning what you do, take the time to teach them how to better their career.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the leader moms out there! Be proud of what you bring to your career and to your home. Check back next week when I’ll be discussing the crazy wild balance between motherhood and career!

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  • Guilda says:

    Hi Linda,
    I enjoyed reading this article. I believe that women have an intrinsic ability to mother people around us, even in the workplace. It is difficult to control at times, but must be to encourage successful and productive team and self growth.

  • Linda Sasser says:

    If you go to the home page at, you’ll see the last item in the left-hand column is a place where you can enter your email address and subscribe to the blog. Then you’ll get an email each time a new post is published. Thanks for your interest!