Taxi journeys for me are an opportunity to learn something about the world; a series of snapshot 20-minute conversations with a hugely diverse range of people you may never meet in other circumstances.
Recently, I was picked up by a driver who not only recognised me, but remembered our kids and where we used to live – I need to learn that kind of face/background memory. Inevitably, as he has 6 children—all now grown up—we started talking about kids. What follows is almost word for word what he said. I’m not endorsing his position personally, just interested in some of the ideas behind what he said.
I own my children. Forever. Their success is reflected on me and their failure will also be turned on me. You can’t just blame the government when kids go off the rails. They do that because of you. Your parent is not your friend. Your parent is like a boss. You respect their authority and if you do that, you will then respect the authority of the country and its law.”
And then we got to Victoria station and I had to go.
It is so common in Management/Leadership Programmes to hear people speak about the difficulty of being friends with their team. You get promoted and suddenly your friend is your direct report. Can the friendship remain the same? Engagement surveys are basically a good parenting assessment by social services. Does your team feel valued, do they respect you and your authority? Ouch. And how do we celebrate success and own failure?
If you are a manager, should you behave like a parent? Transactional analysis (TA) tells us if you behave as a parent with your team then they will behave like children. Parenting in TA gets a bad report because the assumption is that it’s authoritarian. I believe that central to parenting is listening, encouraging, and supporting.
I’m now inspired to find all those parenting books my wife and I collected when our kids were born to see if there is Parent Leader Model that may emerge.
Open to any suggestions…!
Managing Director, Sun and Moon Training