THE BLOG

Parent Like a CEO

05/11/2015 02:25 pm ET | Updated May 11, 2016
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What makes a good corporate manager? What makes a good parent? There are hundreds of books, articles, blogs and opinions about how to be a great corporate manager. The same can be said about how to be a good parent. The consensus about what makes a good parent, however, is not nearly as clear as what makes a good corporate manager. The answer to the question, "How can I be a good parent?" may be as simple as applying what we know about what makes a good corporate manager to parenting.

Successful corporate managers make a conscious effort to develop strategies that will make their managerial style effective. Employees who like their jobs most likely have CEOs who have a management style that makes them happy. A few basic elements of successful management styles are:

  • Communicate well by listening and setting clear and reasonable expectations.
  • Lead by example in an ethical manner.
  • Be positive.
  • Give constructive, not critical, feedback.
  • Thank and reward employees.
  • Be flexible.
  • Be patient.
  • Be loyal.
  • Create a fun atmosphere.
  • Encourage independence, risk taking, and learning from success and failure.
  • Help others.
  • Gather together as a company for networking and core strengthening.
  • Demonstrate tenacity in the face of adversity for the good of the company.
Imagine going home to three children after a long day of practicing, for at least eight hours, all of the above. As you walk through the door, the 5 and 8-year-old are arguing over who gets the remote. You yell at them to "knock it off" because your tired from a long day.

A double standard exists for behavior toward others at work and in public versus behavior at home. CEOs probably like the people they work with, but in most cases, they don't love them. Hopefully, we love the people at home, but feel free to unleash and act anyway we want, because "I am the parent."

Sure, kids come into this world uncivilized, but new employees may come into a company with little or no experience. Even an incoming CEO needs to familiarize themselves with the culture of a new company. After familiarizing themselves, a good CEO often changes the culture of a company. A new baby often changes the culture of a family, and parents must adjust. Look at the list again; this time as a parent.

1. Communicate well by listening and setting clear and reasonable expectations. We often don't listen to our kids; just because they are kids. If a child consistently feels like they are being heard, they are usually better behaved.

2. Lead by example in an ethical manner. If a parent curses, watches TV all day, eats junk food, never takes a shower or doesn't get to work on time; expect their kids to have similar core values. "Do as I say, not as I do" doesn't work at the office and it doesn't work at home.

3. Be positive. Kids don't like being around cranky people, just like employees won't work for a boss that's screaming at everyone all day.

4. Give constructive, not critical, feedback. An effective manager would never tell an employee that they are getting fat. They may install a gym and create a competition for everyone to get in shape. Get kids to change by changing yourself.

5. Thank and reward employees. Some experts tell parents not to reward children. If it is a good business practice, why not provide motivation for kids to accomplish tasks that are difficult for them? It doesn't have to be a new pony. Offering time doing something fun together in exchange for 30 minutes of productive homework is rewarding for both parent and child.

6. Be flexible. Negotiation skills are valuable. Letting kids pitch proposals about changing a household rule they don't think is fair gives them an opportunity to practice advocating for themselves. Successfully lobbing to get a rule "modified," builds confidence.

7. Be patient. Parenting takes more patience than almost any other job. Consciously working on being patient with kids models behavior they will eventually need when they work with others inside and outside of their home.

8. Be loyal. Family first. Know what is going on in kid's lives. An upcoming field trip is just as important to a first grader as a board meeting is to a successful manager.

9. Create a fun atmosphere. Lighten up! Some corporations need to be suit and tie environments. A family should be fun and light hearted. Think "a pets at work" type of environment.

10. Encourage independence, risk-taking and learning from success and failure. Children learn best by trying and learning by natural consequences; good or bad.

11. Help others. Serving and giving back to the community is as good for families as it is for companies.

12. Gather together as a company for networking and core strengthening. Families that play, eat, and work together, are happier and healthier then families who never see one another.

13. Demonstrate tenacity in the face of adversity for the good of the company. If the stock price of a company falls out of control, good captains don't jump ship. The older the company, the harder a successful CEO should fight to keep it afloat for the good of the corporation. Sometimes, dissolving the corporation is unavoidable. However, putting up a good fight in the face of adversities such as physical and emotional, behavioral, academic and social problems is what a good CEO and parent does.

Practical parenting begins with parenting like you are in public. All the time. Closed doors are not a license to yell and berate an employee and they also should not be a pass to treat kids anyway a parent chooses.

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