Great Mother, Great Leader?
Reading a number of ‘mum' blogs recently, I was struck by how similar many of the basic tenets of parenting are to the principles of great leadership. So my question is – does great parenting skills mean great leadership skills?
Below is some key parenting advice, let me know what you think!
- Stop yelling
Leaders who have to raise their voice to be heard are not effective leaders. It suggests a loss of control, making the recipient angry and resentful, thus missing most of the message. An effective leader keeps control of their emotions, speaks clearly and with authority, in a calm voice. This means the message gets heard and responded to.
It works equally well when trying to get a 7 year old to put on their shoes!!
- Let them make their own mistakes
As a child grows it must be given resposibility and given permission to make mistakes. This will help them learn about consequences and realise they can solve their own problems. It also gives them ownership over their actions. they learn that it is ok to fail.
Similarly, in a work environment, an employee must be given autonomy and trusted to carry out tasks on their own. If mistakes are made, (provided they are not catastrophic for the firm!) you can bet they will learn from them and perform better next time.
This is all part of learning and development. It encourages autonomy, raises self-esteem and grows leaders of the future.
- Positive praise
When a child is constantly criticised it leads to low self-esteem and bad behaviour. There is no incentive to behave well!
If your boss is constantly criticising your work, why bother to go the extra mile for them? Self-esteem is eroded and motivation low. A small dollop of praise can go a long way. People naturally want to please someone who recognises the potential in them. That doesn't mean you can't criticise your team. Just make sure it is constructive and will help them grow and develop. Ask them how they might have done things differently – a technique often used in parenting!
- Encourage healthy habits
Just as a child becomes cranky and difficult if they don't have enough sleep or have been gorging on e-numbers, a workforce who is regularly made to work long hours without proper breaks will not be productive. They will soon lose motivation and productivity.
A good leader will encourage their team to go home on time unless absolutely necessary and take regular meal breaks. They will know when their team needs a morale boost or if someone is under particular stress and respond accordingly.
- Remember you are the parent
As a parent, there will be times when you have to be firm regardless of your child's demands. You are the parent and, as such, it is your responsibility to decide what is best for the family. As a leader, it is your role make tough calls from time to time. However hard those decisions may be, it is your responsibility to make them for the good of the business.
A great leader looks after their team and makes them feel valued. They will inspire and motivate their team. They, in turn, will rise to the challenge and push themselves to be the best they can be.
Maybe we should all practise our leadership skills on our children – or our parentings skills on our team?
Katie Rowland Founder and managing director of KRCCoaching. Helping people unlock their business potential.