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Motherhood is the New MBA

Using Your Parenting Skills To Be a Better Boss

Shari Storm, '04 MBA (St. Martin's Press, New York,) reviewed by Kelly Stone, '09Spring 2011 bookmarks 300x399

The Cover of Motherhood Is the New MBA by Shari Storm


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"Don’t speak poorly about other staff or departments if you want your staff to play well with others."
From the chapter, "Don't Put Things In Your Mouth"

In her debut book, Motherhood Is the New MBA: Using Your Parenting Skills to Be a Better Boss, Seattle University alumna Shari Storm illustrates the striking parallels between motherhood and management. Through the use of clever correlations and humorous tales, Storm offers practical advice that is applicable to parents, employees and managers alike. Storm, who has 20 years of management experience, is currently an executive for a large financial institution.
Motherhood Is the New MBA features her experiences and observations as well as those of more than 60 moms, mentors and managers. Each chapter details skills learned through being a boss both at home and in the workplace, and closes with her top three takeaways applicable to business leadership.
In one chapter, titled “Don’t Put Things in Your Mouth,” Storm discusses the significance of modeling exemplary behavior in front of her children, which is also important to do in front of employees. She offers this nugget: “Don’t speak poorly about other staff or departments if you want your staff to play well with others.”
The overlap between parenting and managing is also evident as she writes about the importance of being the boss, not the friend, and being firm when it comes to decision-making. Another pointer covers how to handle the equivalent of tantrums at work: don’t approach the situation when angry or upset and address it with the person directly. That means in person, not via e-mail. Storm underscores the value of good manners, for both employees and managers, and suggests that while it is important to have a plan of action and goals, it’s also important to be flexible.
The author urges mothers to recognize that applying these practices to their home life can increase their confidence in managerial roles at work.
In the book’s final chapter, “Remember What They See in the Mirror,” a mother recounts the time she planned a birthday party for her daughter with a theme based more around her own interests. As a result, the party was not a hit. Storm relates this incident to the work setting by asserting that the incentives that motivate her do not necessarily reflect those of her staff. Rather than presume she already knows, she goes directly to her colleagues to get at the heart of what motivates them.
The amusing stories of parenting and management in Motherhood Is the New MBA are not only valuable but also empowering for women who question whether they can really have it all.


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