Recently, I thought about the similarities between being a parent and being a manager. I was a manager before I was a mother. As I raise my kids and teach management, I find myself sharing stories about how I handled something with my children to explain a management concept; realizing that they’re not that different.
The skills we need and rely on to be effective parents also make us effective managers — so, whichever situation you need help with, you might draw on the other!
Here are some ways in which they are similar:
1. Explanations. I swore that I would never say, “Because I said so,” when my children asked me why…but I must admit that it has come out of my mouth. It’s so much easier! However, if you want someone to buy into your decision, you need to explain the reasons behind that decision. Whether a coworker, employee, or a child. Research shows that giving the reason for why you want, need or did something increases your chances of getting it by over 80%!
2. Consistency. We have been talking about how consistency builds trust. After all, trust is the expectation of predictability. Without consistency, there is no predictability. Consistency also builds character and reinforces conduct. If you want to encourage behaviors in your kids and your team, you need to consistently reinforce those actions. We call it ‘positive reinforcement’ at home, and ‘incentives’ in the office.
3. Empowerment. As I raise my tweens, more and more I am putting the decision in their hands, building their ability to make them and their desire to follow through with them. Whoever it is and whatever their age, a person will buy into their own ideas way more than they buy into yours — even when it is the same idea! If you want your employees to step up to the plate, empower them and ask them how they want to solve the problem and approach the work. Empower them to make their own decisions. At home it is about choice. I am really excited that they are starting to pack their own suitcases for vacation!
Do you have some management skills you hadn’t realized? Or are you better set up to parent a child from your management experience? What would you add to this list?