Monday, February 20, 2006

Learn Management and Leadership from your kids

I just love the use of real life stories to get complex things over in simple ways

Last Monday I facilitated a team building event for 10 fairly senior managers and we got on the subject of risk taking and trusting your staff.

One of the managers related a lovely story about his 6 year old son from the evening before.

Apparently, Dad (the Senior Manager) had been decorating Son’s bedroom for the weekend and Son asked Dad on the Sunday evening whether he could take a door handle off his bedroom door ready for Dad to paint.

Dad was relaxing and watching TV and said

“Not really son – you won’t be able to do that. I will do it for you and you can watch”.

Son insisted he would like to ‘have a go’ and after another brief discussion Dad gave the go ahead for Son to take the door handle off.

Dad waited, expecting Son to come down the stairs asking for help and sure enough Son comes into the lounge after a few minutes ..... Complete with door handle, screws and Dad's screwdriver. The handle had been perfectly removed with no damage to the door.

The best lessons in leadership and management are staring us in the face all the time – we do not have to read theoretical books on the subject.

TRUST THE FRONT LINE STAFF – THEY KNOW HOW TO DO THINGS!

9 comments:

Rocky said...

Very good story. I did not have that story the other day when I fascilitated a workshop, however, much of the content on the workshop was based on your phrase "trust the fronline staff, they all the answrers." It was a great discussion. Next time I can use your wonderful illustration. Thanks.

Steve Sherlock said...

Yes, there is something to be learned from the kids. I recall the Art Linkletter show, and then the follow on by Bill Cosby on "Kids say the darndest things". There is a whole lot of truth to what they say (and in your example, do) as they do not carry around the inhibitions that get built into us somewhere along the way.

BTW, Peter Pan is still one of my heroes!

Steve Sherlock said...

Trevor, Kathy Sierra writing at Creating Passionate Users has this posting on cluelessness that is in the same realm of thought:
http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/2006/02/the_clueless_ma.html
Enjoy!

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Steve and Rocky.

The way I best heard it described is 'there is nothing more charming, intelligent, creative and honest than a three year old. We send them to school and it is downhill from then onwards.'

Not far from the truth I fear!

Noel Guinane said...

I agree with you about schooling, especially when schools intrude on a child's personal development instead of focusing on reading, writing, science and arithmetic. It's the parents (and life) that raises children, not schools.

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Noel and as Freud said;

'What a distressing contrast there is between the radiant intelligence of the child and the feeble mentality of the average adult'

Noel Guinane said...

Absolutely. And one way to prevent turning them into feeble adults is to keep them free from some of the nonsense we grew up with.

Sriram said...

Trevor,

In short "Child is the father of Man".

Noel Guinane said...

Not in my house. ;-)