Managing people can be as challenging as it is gratifying, and it is like parenting; both need to guide, teach, encourage, discipline, compliment and provide a nurturing environment for the team to be successful and for the company to grow.

Here is what parenting taught me about leadership:

1. Guidance

Have you experienced or witnessed young children making innocent mistakes who were reprimanded with harsh words and lost self-confidence as a result? Often, new employees make mistakes at work resulting in missed datelines and were subsequently being frowned upon for being inefficient or incompetent. Not only does this negatively impacts employees performance, it defeats the purposeful learning on the job.

“The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.” ~ John Buchan


2. Teach

Taking responsibility for your actions, to uphold one’s word by doing what you say you will, or as simple as being on time, are all qualities that parents want to instill in our children. Children learn this by being held accountable at a young age. As a parent, clear consequences have to be taught to make sure the kids understand the rules and know the importance of following those rules. As a manager, it is just as important to make the expectations very clear with consequences in place if the rules aren’t followed or deadlines are not met.

“The price of greatness is responsibility.” ~ Winston Churchill

3. Encourage

Employees and children need positive feedback and constructive criticism. As a child, positive encouragement can give them the confidence to keep trying and believe in their abilities. Constructive criticism will steer the kids in the right direction and help them grow by giving them the opportunity of improvement.

Managers play a huge role in making their employees feel empowered, confident and self-reliant by the positive feedback and constructive criticism they provide. When managers have their employees' back and support their decisions, those team members feel good about their abilities and what they are bringing to the company.

“Don’t find fault, find a remedy.” ~ Henry Ford


4. Discipline

Discipline is the process of teaching your child what type of behaviour is acceptable and what type is not tolerable. Effective discipline uses many different tools, like positive reinforcement, and a loving and supportive family. A good manager understands that disciplining employees is part of the job, but a great manager recognizes that discipline is not synonymous with punishment. It should be the goal of managers to help employees become better through constructive feedback, and use corrective measures that explain the next steps you expect the employee to follow.

“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” ~ Kenneth Blanchard

5. Compliment or Praise

Just like adults, children gain confidence through setting and achieving goals. And more importantly, being rewarded for achieving those goals. It may not always have to be tangible rewards, sometimes a pat on the shoulder for a job well done is all it takes to lift the spirits of the child or your employees. Don’t be shy on giving compliment or praise when they are well deserved.

"Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it's amazing what they can accomplish." ~ Sam Walton