By Debbie Pokornik
Anyone can boss people around…but not everyone will be a great boss. If we focus on the qualities that separate an ordinary boss from a really great boss and then apply them to our parenting strategies, we will raise great kids.
Ten qualities of a great boss:
1. Patient with good self-control. A great boss is predictable in that he stays calm and controlled despite the situation. He does not allow his emotions to determine his reaction, but instead uses them to guide him on a path to discovery. Patience and self-control are two things that can challenge us when dealing with our children. Practicing these skills with our kids is a win-win situation.
2. Clear expectations. Expectations are not a guessing game when you have a great boss. This type of leader will be clear on what she expects, when it needs to be done by and who she expects to do it. With our kids this might translate into Susi, the table needs to be cleared before you go outside.
3. Acknowledges a job well done. We all like to hear when we’ve done a good job and especially appreciate being told what it was we did well. With our kids we can do this by using effective feedback, Thanks for putting away your toys, the room looks so much nicer when we all pick up after ourselves.
4. Cares about the individual. For a boss, this means knowing a bit about the employee’s life outside of work – birthdays, weekend plans, sick children, etc. For parents, this involves knowing what their child is dealing with in life, who his friends are, his IT interests (sites surfing, games playing, shows watching) as well as his current hobbies.
5. Teaches, then trusts. A great boss will show you a new task, allow you to try it, make sure you understand it, and then trust you to do the job. With our children, this training is often severely lacking. To really learn something most of us benefit by having it broken down in steps, by being given an opportunity to try it out (hands-on) and by slight, positive adjustments being made when things go wrong. A great boss wouldn’t assume you know the details just from watching and she certainly wouldn’t take over the moment you show any difficulty with the task.
6. Provides assertive correction. A great boss will calmly, yet clearly tell you when there is a problem with something you’ve done, complete with an explanation of why this behaviour is a problem. This boss will not accept excuses or shirking of responsibility, but is willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. A great boss believes in you and recognizes mistakes are an inevitable part of life. Paying attention to how you are correcting your kids can make the difference between teaching them the lesson, and making them feel “faulty” for making a mistake.
7. Role models desired behaviours. A great boss does not say one thing and do another, unless he’s very clear about his reasons for this discrepancy. It is critical we remember our kids learn far more from what we do than what we say. As much as possible we want our behaviours to match the values we are trying to teach.
8. Promotes independence and interdependence. A great boss allows employees to be individuals within the boundaries of company standards. She doesn’t try to make clones of herself, but recognizes the unique talents each person brings to the table. She also expects people to work together for the good of the company. While our kids might seem to be a lot like us, they are individuals and will benefit most when we recognize and support that. If we allow our child to be her own unique self while working towards a common set of family goals, we will have a much happier team.
9. Avoids micro-managing. A great boss gives us a task, ensures we understand the details and timeline and then allows us to do it. When we want our kids to do things we often ask (or tell) them, wait a moment and then nag at them to do as they were asked. Besides being irritating, this tells our kids they do not need to do what we ask until our level of nagging hits a certain octave!
10. Promotes mutual respect. A great boss promotes a respectful relationship by treating her employees with respect. Orders are given sparingly and without personal attack. Ordering our children might seem more efficient, but in the end it will cause a lot of extra work. Watch the tone of voice you are using with your kids and be aware of how much you are ordering, rather than asking or suggesting.
Our children really are the bosses of the future. If we can keep these qualities in mind and practice them in our family environment, we will be creating a home environment that is fun to be part of and raising future leaders destined for greatness.
Debbie Pokornik is the Chief Empowerment Officer for Empowering NRG and author of the award winning Break Free of Parenting Pressures. Debbie believes all parents will benefit from support at some point in their parenting experience. Get your complimentary Parent NRG Boost here http://bit.ly/ParentNRGboost