I’m excited to share that yesterday was the national release of our new book, Raising the Challenging Child — How to Minimize Meltdowns, Reduce Conflict and Increase Cooperation. We believe the lessons in this book will be helpful to parents, teachers, or anyone who works with kids . . . because even the best kids have challenging moments! I’d be honored if you would check it out and consider purchasing a copy.
That’s all well and good, but why am I talking about a parenting book in a leadership blog (aside from the fact that I am really proud of this book)? You just might be surprised at how many similarities there are between what you encounter as a parent and the things you experience as a leader. Think about it . . . wouldn’t you like to minimize meltdowns, reduce conflict and increase cooperation among those you work with? If so, you might consider a few of the lessons from the book.
- Invest in the relationship bank. Think of your interactions with your staff as a relationship bank. Are you making more deposits than withdrawals? Deposits are things like asking their option, praising their efforts, showing genuine interest in them as a person, not just a means to an end. Withdrawals happen when you shoot down their idea, ignore them, or don’t acknowledge their contribution to a project. There will be times when you have to make a withdrawal, but those are easier for a staff member to take in stride when you have lots of deposits to draw from.
- Share power to get power. The fact that an employee does what you ask of them does not mean they respect you. Following a directive in the moment is not the same as being fully engaged and taking ownership for one’s actions. However, when a leader is willing to share power through listening to new ideas, willingness to compromise, or providing autonomy on how a project is completed, we not only make deposits in the relationship bank, we also increase the confidence, mastery and commitment of our staff members.
- Change your steps in the dance. If you catch yourself thinking, “Bob always . . .” or “Sue never . . .” you have fallen into an ineffective pattern, or “dance” with this individual. Assuming you have taken steps to try to change their behavior to no avail, perhaps you need to consider changing your steps in the dance. If you are frustrated because Bob always shows up late to meetings, keeping everyone else waiting, change your behavior and don’t wait for him. Start the meeting on time and let him deal with the natural consequences of missing part of the meeting.
Did I mention the book includes 30 Lessons and has an audio version? What have you got to lose by checking it out . . . other than meltdowns, conflict and a lack of cooperation?