Unleash Your Inner Tiger Mum: She’s Fierce But Means Well
As someone reared in South East Asia in a Eurasian household, the controversy over Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and the recent BBC documentary Meet Britain’s Tiger Mums, made me reflect on the cultural values I took for granted on both sides of my heritage. After I had recovered of course, from the cold sweat, culture shock and post traumatic flashbacks of all this controversial Asian style schooling; I realized, all of us could pick up on some valuable ideas embedded in the Tiger Mom and apply them in our work practices and organizational culture.
What is a Tiger Mom?
Tiger Moms demand unquestioning respect and obedience from their children and are extremely strict. They impose extreme discipline and never take no for an answer, drilling their children toward Academic excellence. Yes scary I know, but get inside the mind of one and you realize there is a lot of Positivity underneath it all and it is applicable to our personal development and the teams we lead.
Don’t be afraid of being unpopular
Tiger Moms show how much they care by taking the risk of being unpopular and sacrifice on the sentimental dividends. Sometimes you need to make decisions or enforce rules that will strengthen yourself or your organization in the end. How many of us wished bloated inefficient sectors of our economy got some tough love for example – it would have been for the greater good.
The 10,000 rule: Another take on Meritocracy
Tiger Moms don’t assume you have to be good at something from the start to excel which is why we associate them with hours of hot-housing and homework. Sometimes we don’t allow ourselves to pursue a dream or activity or venture because we thought we were not innately talented enough, because we didn’t get it right straight away. The Asian take on Meritocracy is slightly different- the idea is you could be good at something only if you gave yourself enough time to work it out and apply yourself without being a blazing star at first go.
Here everyone stands the chance of excelling if you encourage them to invest enough effort and keep at it. As a business this relates to Economies of Experience. Don’t automatically discard a new idea or venture at the first stumble. On a personal note: There is a hidden positivity and egalitarian element in this approach.
Discipline. Work first, play later.
Which brings me to Discipline and Delayed Gratification. Tiger Moms insist on it. It’s not a glamorous route to success but it is a life skill and business practice we need to keep coming back to in our adult lives. There’s nothing easy about this one but once it’s a part of you, or your organizational Culture you barely notice it’s there. From an organizational point of view, there has got to be clear standards, benchmarks and targets for acceptable behaviour and performance in any business, with clear consequences for any action good or bad.
Don’t Quit so soon -Cultivating Self Belief takes work
Linked to the 10,000 Rule, Self belief is something you earn through sheer graft. It’s worth remembering that making mistakes and faltering are part of the road to Excellence. Tiger Moms really push “practice makes perfect” and don’t accept easy quitters because they see the light at the end of the tunnel, not because they are sadists. They genuinely believe their children possess great potential and see it as a process of unleashing it.
Conversely as an individual, don’t push yourself because you are a Masochist – push harder because you believe you are capable of better and to quote from the Ad- “You’re worth it”. When leading a team, you sometimes have to push for that extra sprint at the end to meet deadlines and targets etc. Its worth reminding them about their potential as opposed to focusing on the negative.
Self Esteem is Empirical
Which brings me to Self Esteem. Cultivating it in yourself or your team or Business is ultimately your own responsibility and earned through experience. Tiger Moms believe that it’s only when you excel after investing time and effort and see the results of your hard work, that you build self-esteem. Not just because someone told you “You are the best”. Once you get that feeling through your own effort, you are hooked. You start to believe in yourself and know the next challenge is surmountable and attractive even. Good HR creates processes for employees to develop Self esteem this way when staggered benchmarks, development plans and regular opportunities for reaching them visibly are in place.
Fun comes from being good at something
Tiger moms know that it’s not fun working so hard in the beginning but once you get better at something you will discover how much fun it is. We all have to pay our dues when starting something new but there comes a tipping point when it won’t be so hard we just have to trust our selves to get there.
Yes, Its not easy reading and I don’t condone all the approaches that are associated with strict Asian parenting and schooling having experienced it myself, but I am also thankful for some life-skills that I was forced to forge for myself in the process. I have to keep reminding myself of these values and mindsets every time I take on a new venture. We all get soft in the middle over time or maybe get discouraged into not pushing harder.
Do you Agree or Disagree with this approach? Which makes me ask the question: What other life skills does your cultural heritage bring to your Business ventures, work life and organizational culture ?