Leadership Tip: Look to Your Parenting for Help

Parenting is a lot like dealing with people in the workplace.

My wife Emily and I are proud parents of two great kids, one age six, and one age sixteen months. We’re also both voracious readers, and we’re always looking for ideas and insight on better parenting. And much of what we read boils down to this: As a parent, will you make decisions that solve an immediate problem (she’s crying, he’s grumpy, etc.), just to get through the day? Or, are you willing to suffer a little short-term pain knowing that it will ultimately be better long-term?

This is an admitted oversimplification. I know there’s more to parenting than that, but very often the decisions we make are based around that simple choice: Solve a short-term problem that may haunt us later, or make the hard choice now, knowing that it will be the right decision down the road?

And it’s funny. Each time a situation like that presents itself to me as a parent, it reminds me how similar it is to the leadership decisions we often face in the workplace. As a leader, will you make a decision that may make your employees or colleagues happy now, knowing it will come back to bite you later? Or will you opt to endure a little professional angst now, with the understanding that it will be a better long-term decision?

The takeaway here is pretty simple: The way you deal with people in the workplace is not unlike how you deal with people at home. The “quick ‘n easy” short-term solution may get you through this day, but the longer you go without making a stand on whatever the issue at hand may be, the harder it will be when you do ultimately have to make that tough decision down the road.

Has what you’ve learned as a parent ever helped you in the workplace? Let us know in the comments!

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