You could have balance, but what if balance meant challenges or conflicts both at work and home.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Plato
As a leader, you don’t have to solve employees’ problems at home, but you should at least ask so you can understand what people might be dealing with so they can have peace at work. That question gave me these two (shareable) stories:
Story 1: A manager with two kids, a boy 12 and a girl 4, had been covering for me while I was out on vacation. When I returned, we were reviewing a situation, and both realized he missed an update. He stopped and explained what had gone on the day before.
He had planned to take his wife out to lunch for her birthday but work ‘fires’ had to be put out, so instead he promised her a nice family dinner. That is until they were about to leave for dinner, and his daughter asked him how rocks were supposed to taste.
“Rocks?! You ate a rock?”
She held up five fingers.
“You ate five rocks?”
They spent what was supposed to be a nice family dinner in the emergency room. It was understandable why he would have missed the update. The little girl was OK. Turned out she ate newly spread mulch.
Story 2: When meeting with a new person on my team, I expected questions about the job. But I always begin by asking how things are at home. She said she would like a little less conflict; she has three girls. Not horrible conflict, just chronic.
Her girls do what most parents have experienced where our kids believe our role is to referee, calling the shots on every play.
“She picked the movie last time!”
“Well she never helps bring in the groceries!”
A technique that worked really well for me called ‘Child of the Day’ which is a very simple system of responsibility and rewards. Each day you mark on the calendar who is child of the day. When it came time to decide what story to read, what movie to watch, or what snack to eat, the decision went to the child of the day. That was the reward part.
The responsibility part is about things that need to get done, but were not necessarily a particular person’s chore. Those would go to the child of the day. For example, if I need something out of the pantry, I would ask, “Who is child of the day?”
This approach took me out of the middle. Now, my children are both adults, and if you ask them who the favorite child is, they will both say, “Me!” This really works.
Child of the Day is one of the many expert responses to parents questions in Parents Ask, Experts Answer: Nurturing Happy, Healthy Children. Yes, this is a shameless book plug! But please do take a look at the book available for presell on Amazon.
Have a wonderful week!
Tina Nocera, Founder
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