Having begun to answer this question in the last blog, we move to a subject which really gets me started, the ground level stuff of managing and parenting – the consistent application of standards and accountability. I’ll jump to my experience in clinical social work to share what I have learned.
When I was a student in a child psychiatry setting, about the same time that I was becoming a parent for the first time, one of the Big Questions I tried to answer for myself was corporal punishment – it is wise to hit your child? (It goes without saying that this is meant as an attention getting device that does not inflict a lasting hurt.) At the child psychiatry clinic, I had the opportunity to meet many families and review many files. I came to the conclusion that corporal punishment itself was not the question – I saw healthy and unhealthy families who used either approach. The key was to apply standards of behavior consistently. If you are going to hit your kid (emphasis added again – in a way to get attention, not to inflict hurt), do it in a consistent manner. If you’re going to punish your kid in through different methods, do those in a consistent manner. As I saw, families with problems applied rules inconsistently, which meant accountability was a sometimes event. This deprived their kids from understanding rules of behavior and from learning what it meant to be held accountable for their actions.
Hear Ye, Hear Ye, You managers out there! Apply company performance standards in a consistent manner and hold employees accountable continuously, and you will advance your business objectives in an efficient manner. When very time, every season, your staff questions what are performance expectations, and what happens when they do comply or don’t work up to standard, you lose their focus, and then their time and energy. Everyone needs the consistent application of rules and standards.
Oh yes, articulate the standards – same for kids, same for employees.
To return to the question, do good managers make for good parents? Let’s say that it makes for one heck of a good start. As we all know, there are no guarantees in life. But you can apply the lessons you learn in different life contexts to be better managers and parents. As my Dad would say, people are people.