Sometimes work-life separation (for those of you that believe make belief fables) bites you in the most annoying of ways. Little dude on the right is my youngest son and is a replica of me in every annoying little detail (except 2.5 years old and smaller)
Over the weekend he ran into my bedroom naked holding a screwdriver and an hex key:
“Daddy, I need help!”
He then ran out the door.
Cold chill ran up my spine, one that probably ruins the day of many people that have worked with me through the years.
Never mind the details, just follow me, I’ll explain the 382 stops along the way.
Right off the bat I knew the following:
1. Whatever it is, it’s probably horrible so just breathe.
2. I’m going to do most of the work
3. I will likely get blamed for all the missing pieces
4. Why me man?
Now while I’m pretty sure that it’s a bad thing to admit that I have a lot more in common with my 2.5 year old (which my wife assures me he will eventually grow out of) it’s really been a mirror into some very ugly personality, temper and impulsive decision making skills I still enjoy/suffer today.
You can’t beat 2 year olds
Sometimes the challenge in management and leadership is getting the job done without killing everyone around you.
That challenge comes from having to put up with childish behavior that is very prevalent in business.
As grownups we can put on a good act. But when we get tired, cranky, miss meals or hit a rough patch the childish stuff pops up and it’s much louder than the act that everyone is accustomed to. Here are some examples:
You get the silent treatment.
You get complaints and whining when you ask them to do something they don’t want to.
You get pouting when you take away their favorite toy (substitute any perk)
You get hissy fits when things change and you don’t spend a lot of time in advance selling them on how awesome it’s going to be.
You get long arguments that make no sense at all and even they don’t know what they want to do.
You get “Bad daddy!” comments or they take their ball home like Eric Cartman.
Having kids, aside from making me face my own demons, has taught me a lot about management and just how many people are broadcasting their inner kid in business. The hurt feelings, the “we’re switching because you’re a meanie” and other childish stuff is a great way to split the grownups from kids – because everyone can only hold up the act for so long.
And eventually you just have to grow up.
The challenge in business (whether you’re like me and do a bulk of your revenue business-to-business, or if you’re managing lots people) is to start it off in the kindergarten mode and then wait for people to flip their kid card over. Then you know who you have to treat/reward/motivate/engage/market/etc to as a grownup and who needs their pizza slice cut into tiny pieces. Reject the nurturing aspect that we’re all engrained with because in business parenting yields no reward and inherits all the bills and blame for trying.
Trust me on this, it will save you a lot of frustration.