Not long ago in a management seminar I asked the group if any of them had children. As you can imagine, lots of hands went up.
Then I asked two questions: “How many of you believe there are adults on the workplace who act like children?” (almost every hand in the room went up) And then, “How many of you believe you can use some of the same parenting techniques you use at home as management tools for employees?” (only two hands were raised)
The discussion got pretty interesting after that. We put our heads together and discovered that three parenting strategies work wonderfully with people whether in or outside the workplace.
First, Set Expectations. Make sure people know exactly what you expect from them. If you tell someone you want them to do a Good Job and you don’t tell them what your definition of a Good Job is they will certainly use their definition…which might be different than yours.
Second, Catch People Doing Things Right. We all want affirmation and appreciation. In fact, appreciation is the #1 response we humans want for our actions. Spend some time Catching People Doing Things Right and you’ll be surprised how a lot of your people problems shrink or disappear.
Third, Hold People Accountable. Whether children or adults, if people aren’t consistently held Accountable they will stray off-course. They get distracted by all kinds of issues, internal and external, and the next thing you know they are not meeting your expectations. So, on a regular basis, you need to keep checking in with them to hold them Accountable for their actions.
Some of the same strategies you use with children will work with adults, in and out of the workplace.