Raising Kids, Raising Workers

I’ve long believed that managing is the second most difficult job on planet earth, the first being parenting. I often start my supervisory skills training classes with that.

Blogger Luc Galoppin is writing about this at his blog, Luc's Thoughts On Organizational Change. I’m a bit late to his party as he is already on part 5, but as my mom used to say, “Better late than never.”

This is a great topic and a super series. I think he should consider turning his series into a book.

The parallels between managing people and raising children are many. As are the lessons.

Just as we raise kids to be capable and to have a sense of responsibility for certain things, so also do we “raise workers” . . .

- to be be aware of their responsibilities

- to be accountable for them, and

- to take the appropriate actions necessary.

I recently conducted a supervisory skills training for front line managers in the marine terminals industry. I asked them what they expect of their workers, most of whom are union employees.

They had a long list of answers including such items as "to get the job done," "to take care of the equipment," and "to work safely."

I asked the supervisors if such items were negotiable. They answered No. One said, "You can't compromise on things like that. If we don't stand firm on such expectations, it will hurt productivity, costs, and safety."

Quite a few of the participants in this training were young men and women who were unmarried and did not have kids of their own. But the parallels are still there.

Just as parents have to establish boundaries that protect and nourish their children, so too must supervisors.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, May 30, 2009


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