About Workforce Echoes

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Parent or Manager?

Have you ever noticed how similar parenting is to managing employees? In fact, I think that an outstanding parent could be a great choice for your next management vacancy!

In both your family and work settings, performance management is an on-going process. Do you wait to talk to your kids till the year-end performance appraisal? Hopefully not. How many children will keep their room neat and tidy if parents don’t monitor it? In turn, how many employees will go that extra mile if no one notices? Similarly, in management or parenting, there must be repercussions when expectations aren’t met. There must also be rewards for outstanding accomplishments and behavior. In both settings you must be sure that your rewards actually motivate and your repercussions actually deter. Just think about the kid who chooses to NOT come home by his curfew since staying out late with his friends is far more rewarding than the one minute of yelling he’ll hear from his mom. In the business setting, think about the employee who would rather sleep late and arrive late to work, since it’s likely no one will notice, than to get up earlier to arrive on time.

How about training and development? Well, again, good parenting practices cross over with good management practices. Many managers will opt to do things themselves rather than take the time to teach an employee, or provide training, so that he or she can do something better on their own. This leads to an over-worked and stressed out manager. At home we’ll see the parent who does EVERYTHING for their child. Again, this leads to over-worked and stressed out parents. Effective parenting AND effective managing involve taking the time to teach and coach on a daily basis. It might seem time consuming now, but it saves time down the road.

There are many more examples. I’ll leave you with my favorite. Your relationship with your child or employee is the key. Destroy that, and everything else will follow. Once trust and respect are gone, your child or employee will no longer be open to your advice, coaching, or guidance.

The next time you’re hiring a manager, you might consider an experienced and effective parent!

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