It's been a little while since I talked about parenting, but since I'll be a parent the rest of my days, you know it's never far from my mind. And a parenting post is never far away!
I like to talk about the parallels between parenting and managing. Of course, there are some great differences, but when we talk about how to manage kids and how to manage employees, there are lots of similarities.
One similarity is that in both managing and parenting, you have to know when to switch from being a manager to being a consultant.
It's tough as a parent, because from the time your kids are born, you're micro-managing everything with them. You need to let them make as many decisions as possible, so they can start to develop, and to show you trust them, but for the most part, you do practically everything for them. For many years, that's the nature of parenting - and you can't imagine it's every going to be different.
But then your kids get old enough to do a lot on their own, to make most decisions on their own, and it's hard to step back, to become more of a macro-manager. To consult them on their decisions, rather than make them for them.
But you have to do it - you have to step back. Otherwise, your kids won't fully develop.
It can be the same with employees. At first, of course you have to train them and micro-manage them. Sure, you let them make some decisions on their own, but you have to guarantee that they know their responsibilities, and how you do business.
But your time is limited - you can't be looking over their shoulder the entire day, or other work will suffer. And if you smother your employees, you take away their chance to reach their own potential, and to develop new strategies and ways of doing business that will improve the company as a whole.
You have to toe that fine line every day - do I need to manage this, or do I need to be a consultant here?
Is this project lost without my input, or will letting them figure it out for themselves be best for the long run?
Do you understand the difference between being a manager and a consultant? And the appropriate times for each?