While Angela Merkel has brought Ireland nothing but ongoing austerity, she is coming to the fore as the real leader of Europe. As we all watch Donald Trump lurch from one embarrassment to another Angela plays things in a calm and low key way. She’s very much the adult to his pouty toddler.
The recent meetings to discuss climate change saw her being tolerant and persuasive. But immediately after failing to get full agreement from the Donald, she announced that Europe would have to be self sufficient. “We can no longer rely on our old allies the UK and the US.”
Her message seems to be that while the world is shifting beneath our feet, we can rest assured because Angela is taking charge. Europe might have to go it alone, but we will be in her safe hands.
It reminded me of a phrase I once heard used by a hard working Waterford woman I know. I think at the time I was trying to get her to describe her style of leadership, her secret to success. Was she an authoritarian boss or did she believe in a more equal style of management?
“Mine is the Mammy style of Management.” she said.
“If you read all those how to be great in business books leadership is described as having great budgeting skill; the ability to motivate other people, having vision for the future, being able to listen and solve problems. If you want great leaders pick people who already do all these things…..the Mammies.”
It’s true that Mammies do everything from minding the money to training and even counselling. Explaining to little people who can’t even talk how to graduate from nappies to potties and from potties to toilets for example? Feeding people with one hand while the other makes a lego castle? Making school lunches while at the same time hearing homework and making a shopping list for dinner? All this while she fixes her hair before dropping everyone off to their destinations. Only then does the average Mammy turn up for her job and do another day’s work in the “real” economy.
If you want something done ask a busy person, and who is busier than a Mammy? The research supports this. Even though Fathers take a much bigger role in childcare and housework than they used to, women still do most of the cleaning up and childcare on top of their day jobs outside the home. Yes even after 40 years of feminism it’s Mammies who endlessly keeping the home fires burning!
On top of being a Manager, a Counsellor and a Teacher, Mammies are spending all day and night keeping people alive! And in my experience Grannies are not too far behind in the keeping people alive business either…..
As it happens Angela isn’t a Mammy in that she doesn’t have children of her own. But the Mammy style of Management can be adopted by anyone, female or male. You have to care for those you are leading, be prepared to listen and cajole, to see all sides of the argument and praise everyone else except yourself. You have to prioritise the little ones, take a step back and at the same time push others forward. But you also have to know how to deliver a swift “stop your nonsense” message too.
The Mammy style of Management might be mistaken for “soft skills” but in the fast changing world we live in these are the skills the world needs more of. Nothing is too much to ask Mammy. If she ever had enough time in the day to take over the world, the world surely would be a better behaved place?
Meanwhile there’s Angela Merkel, moments after acting as the Mammy of Europe and Supreme Leader of the World, down with the kids in the pub sipping her tankard of German beer. It’s easy to see why she has a very high popularity rating in Germany.
Angela is not only trying to manage the boldest boy in the house- Donald Trump, but the bully boy on her own doorstep- Vladimir Putin. He once brought in his pet Labrador during a press conference in 2007 knowing she was terrified of dogs. Merkel later explained, “I understand why he has to do this….to prove he’s a man…he’s afraid of his own weakness.” Only someone with a good handle on the Mammy style of management could threaten to put Putin on the naughty step and get away with it!
Our Leo will have to remember that no Mammy likes to to be messed with. No doubt he will give Macron a good run for his money as to who is the best boy in the house? From what I hear they both still have their Communion money.
And so where does a Mammy bear sleep? Anywhere she wants!
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