“Professional skills and abilities can be worked on at business school, but where they are really learned is in a family environment.”
This is the kind of clear message that Spanish consultant and trainer Jaime Noguera Tejedor transmits in his book You just need to be humble: A guide with 22 suggestions for the working world and for social interactions.
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It’s true: a family is the best kind of school. And whoever is at the head of the family earns a degree every day in a new area of knowledge. As Tejedor argues, it’s at home “where you are offered a hands-on master’s degree.” Here are the skills you learn:
1. Team leader
“Can anyone imagine a family with several children without teamwork?” asked Tejedor. “We need to identify the strengths of each person so that they can take responsibility for the tasks they are most suited to.”
Think about it, if you are a mother, a wife … Who, besides you, knows exactly whom to entrust with each responsibility that is needed in the house? You are a great boss. With sweetness and accuracy, you know better than anyone who can do each task best so that your “business” works. There’s no doubt: you are the one who masterfully leads this team.
You began to get your degree in being an excellent family coach on the day you saw your first child for the first time—without forgetting the day when, with an “I do,” you became the other half of your beloved husband. He is your companion, your business partner, your faithful bulwark, whom God planned you to be with in order to build your future together.
2. Communicator and goal setter
“Is it possible to get a team working without speaking? Talk, talk, talk. This is one of the secrets of success of a family and/or business. One-on-one and group communication. The health of both family and professional life is strengthened when conversation is given an important place.”
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Now, think: Aren’t you the one who knows best how to start those important family conversations? Who’s the one who sits at your teary-eyed daughter’s bedside? Aren’t you also the one who, at the dinner table, brings up any old subject, just so that the rest of the family will get used to having a moment of general family communication?
“If a family doesn’t move forward, it doesn’t mature. Whoever doesn’t advance, falls back. You get stuck in the past. Seeing things only from your own perspective closes the shutters. That’s why it is necessary to adapt constantly to new circumstances without losing sight of essentials, values, and culture.”
You are a decisive woman, an executive with broad horizons, someone who knows how to take a chance on good family projects and leave aside those that are impossible to take on. You take a realistic view of things, in the light of your circumstances, but you never cease to innovate, create, and strengthen. You’ve never been afraid of changes or of making an investment. You know that you have the best kind of capital—human capital—and you know well what your family is made of. You cannot deny it: you are the best investment your family could ever have made.
“No explanation is needed. Make a list of things that you have to negotiate at home (the list of things you don’t have to negotiate would be shorter).”
No one knows better than you how to manage a conflict of interest with “business partners” of any age—that is to say, your children. You know perfectly well how and when to hand out candy, to establish the time for the children to be back home, and to distribute expenses so as to satisfy the interests of all those who form part of that precious family that you run with your husband.
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Nonetheless, no one can deny that there’s just one thing that can’t be explained: Why don’t you ever keep anything for yourself? Why are you always the last to benefit? Why, when it comes to distributing the proceeds, does your name never appear?
“‘You’re the youngest, right? It’s noticeable: you’re on top of your game.’ This is a typical observation in families with lots of children. It’s normal: the older ones teach the younger ones. In companies, we call this delegating. Teach the older ones, and there’s hardly anything left for you to do; they will be the teachers of the rest. It’s a kind of a trickle-down formation that works well. And it’s not a matter of avoiding obligations, but rather of delegating so that the learning process flows … Feeling like a ‘mentor’ is motivating.”
And who is the best teacher, trainer, and consultant in your house? Don’t doubt it: it’s you. It’s you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
You taught your son when he was just a few years old to tie up his own soccer cleats (the ones he asked you for so insistently), with which he was convinced that he’d make many more goals when he played. You taught your adolescent daughter that hard work on her studies would bring its reward. And today, you keep answering the phone when your daughter, who just got married, asks you for the recipe for that cake that only you can make so moist. You can’t deny it: as a teacher, you’ve earned all the titles possible.
6. Lastly …
“Home is the only place where they are never going to try to do a massive layoff. Take advantage of that!”
And that happens because you always keep the door of your home open. You have always looked to Mary’s example. You know how her heart is always ready, and you have always thought that your heart should be hers, which, one day, said “yes” to the Lord. You trust, and that makes you a great wife, an excellent mother, and a magnificent woman who can feel satisfied that she is at the head of the best business: your family.