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Worried about Tiger Moms? What about the Tiger Boss? | Cypress Semiconductor

Worried about Tiger Moms? What about the Tiger Boss?

Author Amy Chua has raised voices from all points of the parenting spectrum in this country (perhaps the world, there were too many google hits to check). Her point in very simple terms is: if you work harder and longer you do better and go farther. One point she makes in her defense is that the world is a tough place and we have to prepare our kids to deal with it's harshness. While there is likely little disagreement with these themes, it is her methods that have people (parents, educators) up in arms.

As examples, take a look at these two incidents of note, one from Ms. Chua's upbringing and one from her experience as a parent. Both of these are extracted from a recent Time Magazine article.

1) When Chua took her father to an awards assembly at which she received second prize, he was furious. "Never, ever disgrace me like that again," he told her.

2) It was the "Little White Donkey" incident that pushed many readers over the edge. That's the name of the piano tune that Amy Chua, Yale law professor and self-described "tiger mother," forced her 7-year-old daughter Lulu to practice for hours on end — "right through dinner into the night," with no breaks for water or even the bathroom, until at last Lulu learned to play the piece….When Rubenfeld [Ed: Chua's husband, Jed Rubenfeld ,also a professor at Yale Law School, and LuLu's father] protested Chua's harangues over "The Little White Donkey," for instance, Chua informed him that his older daughter Sophia could play the piece when she was Lulu's age. Sophia and Lulu are different people, Rubenfeld remonstrated reasonably. "Oh, no, not this," Chua shot back, adopting a mocking tone: "Everyone is special in their special own way. Even losers are special in their own special way."

You may or may not agree with her techniques, but the truth is that no matter what you do, unless you are preparing your child for the future world, you are not doing your job as a parent. Ms. Chua has been compared to a coach, some would argue a coach with deranged methods nonetheless. Does the same mentality occur in bosses, managers, project leaders? Absolutely.

What I learned looking at this "Tiger Mom" is that such a person is not born, but is made over many years and experiences. In Ms. Chua's case it is obvious her family and the environment she grew up in shaped her (many google hits confirm this) and likely she also shaped her daughters who will in some way personify "Tiger Moms", not necessarily copying everything they experienced, but the themes will be there. So now for the "Tiger Boss". If you grew up with this kind of coaching, either literally growing up with a "tiger" parent or coming up the working ranks with a mentor, project leader or manager driving his reports to excel and accept nothing else, how do you think you will act or lead? The best take the best from their past, others may fail to discern the difference between what motivates and what destroys.

Unfortunately, most of the reviews of both Tiger Moms and Tiger Bosses will come down to a review of the results, and detractors will find plenty of negative results (bullying, harassing, tearing people down) while supporters will find the gems, the teams who against all odds survived and thrived while others failed, the diamonds found in the rough.

My point: while you cannot choose your parents, you can choose your leader, or more to the point you can choose to find another leader if you are not happy with the one you have. But that doesn't mean you should just when things feel rough, because at times it does take someone else to push you to achieve, to not give you the choice to fail. Coaches do it, parents can and leaders/managers can too.

 

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