As some of you readers may be aware, I have been on maternity leave for about six weeks now, and I’m learning a lot. One of the things I’m learning is the parallel between parenting and great people management.
We’ve spent the last five weeks getting to know each other, and I’m realizing that, like many executive/ moms, I’m using what I’ve learned in business with my baby girl! We all know that leaders need followers, or they’re not really leading. So how do you get a 2 year old girl to follow you? Follow the first rule of great management – be a role model! If you want someone to eat their peas, it may be important to demonstrate how delicious they are.
Have you ever managed someone who really needed you to show them how to behave? Recently I worked with someone (we’ll call her Renee) who’s top performing employee was not behaving well in the proverbial sandbox. She was dominating conversations in team meetings, and being overly critical behind the back of one of the new operations people assigned to her division. Renee had to speak to her employee and not just tell, but SHOW her how to behave. She demonstrated how to give non-judgmental feedback to the new operations person, and talked to her about what top-tier behavior looks like. She asked her to watch her in the next meeting to see what appropriate engagement looked like, and was able to show what positive responses looked like in the meeting. Not too different from what I’m experiencing on a daily basis right now.
So I may be at risk of comparing executives to two-year-olds, but hey, we all start out that way!