What Leadership And Parenting Have In Common (Part 2)
Part 1 can be read here. You'lll find my thoughts about empathy, providing safety, patience, and active listening.
Show vulnerability. And don't be afraid of apologies
Of course, there will be situations when you're decision is wrong or you hurt someone with a piece of feedback not ideally delivered. It's not ideal, but it happens, we're human beings. But don't let that mistake jeopardize your relationship, be vulnerable, say that you're sorry if you really feel that way, and work together to rebuild trust.
My kid wants me available 24/7 and of course, I'm doing my best to accomplish her wish, but not without imposing some clear limits when my personal time is so much needed. For my staff of course I'm not available 24/7, but they are one of my highest priorities during my working hours and whenever someone needs my advice, my help, or my support, I'm trying to be as responsive as I can and offer them my support as soon as the request gets to me. For me, it's a sign of respect to be available for them and even if I'm busy with something else, I make sure they know I'll get back to them as soon as I'm finishing a meeting or an urgent task.
Take my advice with a grain of salt though. When it comes to time management you should apply the rule that suits you and your schedule best. My approach might not work in another context.
Give (also positive) feedback
At this age, my daughter loves all the open and tube slides, trampolines, climbers, and everything from a playground. And it happens often that she approaches a new activity, a challenging one, or maybe one that scares her at the beginning. I never try to convince her to do something or try something she is not willing to do or to try, but when she's confident enough to make a step, I'm acknowledging her courage by "You did great, you were so brave to tackle that one!". That's pretty much the same with my staff, I'm trying to offer positive feedback on the spot, acknowledging their successes.
I believe feedback is crucial and even if sometimes we're not comfortable with it, besides the positive feedback, we have to offer also constructive and corrective feedback (I'm not using "negative feedback" on purpose). Like I'm doing with my daughter, I'm trying to be very specific and timely when I deliver constructive feedback to my staff. I truly believe that the habit of constantly giving and receiving feedback builds trust and sets us up for success.
Have the hard conversations
And set healthy boundaries. For kids, healthy boundaries are essential, without boundaries, they're like driving on a road without a parapet. And when boundaries are bypassed, you, as a parent have to stay bold, but calm.
Quite similar with your staff. Of course, you're not going to set boundaries for adults, but do not run away whenever a hard conversation has to happen. Without hard conversations, the frustrations and lack of trust can grow exponentially.
Sometimes you just need to show them how to do it
When she was around 2 and a half, my daughter loved to do puzzles. And every time she had a new puzzle set, she refused to do the puzzle and had her dad make that puzzle dozens of times so that she can watch him and learn. Only after she felt confident enough, she started to do them by herself. And when she did that, it was shocking that she already knew how to do them, as she practiced a lot by watching her dad.
It should be pretty similar to your staff. If you want to see certain behavior, or certain actions happening, maybe that's the exact moment when you should be mastering that well first and have them just looking at you.
As I said in the beginning, no one was born a leader or a parent, you become one. And both as a parent and as a leader, you're a permanent student, you're still learning things every day. There is no recipe for being a perfect parent or a perfect leader, it is only your way of acting and performing the role. And maybe neither your kids nor your staff needs a perfect leader. Needs you to perform at your best.
Let parenting or leading people become your lifestyle and as Simon Sinek is saying
"The more you understand about parenting, the more you understand about leadership, and the more you understand about leadership, the better parent you become".