Running a business is a pretty difficult task. You have more responsibilities than you could have ever expected from the job and they just keep piling up. The bills are through the roof and you have no idea how you’re going to finance everything. There are lots of people that rely on your knowledge and skills to get them through the day and into a brighter future.
This all sounds awfully familiar, doesn’t it? Mothers will know that this is the exact thought process that goes through a parent’s head every single day. This is because managing a business isn’t at all unlike running a household. The same principles apply. Does this mean you can use your knowledge as a parent to help you run your business? It absolutely does, and it helps in more ways than you might expect. Here are some ways to use those parenting skills to help your business thrive.
Shift priorities around
Sometimes, you’re going to need to take care of the kids for a day. On other days, you might need to put all your energy and focus into the business. Unfortunately, you can’t do both at the same time. It’s like balancing chores and taking care of kids. You need to prioritize to get anything done properly. If you’re constantly thinking about everything, you’ll quickly burn out.
You r kids should always be the top priority, there’s no question about it. However, you don’t need to be an overly dedicated helicopter parent. When your kids are at school or being taken care of by your partner, you shouldn’t stress about them. Your business requires a lot of your time and effort as well. Keep your head clear when you’re dealing with your business and save the worrying for later.
Emphasize your core values
Your company culture is one of the most important things that you need to nurture. Creating the ideal culture for your work environment is a slow and arduous process. You need to instil your core values in your employees and have them be a reflection of the business as a whole. It’s not all that different compared to creating a positive family environment. You want your kids to grow up with some good values so that they would emulate them. Parents are the most important models for children growing up. Business leaders and coworkers aren’t too far behind when it comes to influences on adults.
Start with the basics. How do parents teach their kids manners? You lead by example and talk to them whenever you want to emphasize a lesson. Company culture works pretty similarly. Employers need to explain to their employees how to treat clients and business partners. At the same time, they should show the same amount of courtesy and respect, to provide an example that employees should strive for.
The way employees treat each other is just as important. Everyone should be on the same page. There should be no scapegoating or shirking of responsibilities. You’re all in this together.
Compromise when necessary
Running a business is a lot like having a big family you need to take care of. This is why so many employers strive to remind everyone in the company that they’re part of a family. You’re all trying to look out for each other and make sure that the business succeeds. Unfortunately, sometimes there will be disagreements on what is the best way to achieve this. You solve the problem by using the same tactics you use with your kids – compromise.
Kids don’t know a lot about how the house runs. Similarly, your employees aren’t always well-versed in the inner workings of your business. Still, they can have good points and suggestions that can help the business going forward. It’s important that you show that you’re listening and take in suggestions. If the employees demand some changes around the workplace, you need to take their needs into consideration.
Compromise is the best solution. Find a middle ground that will give employees satisfying results without negatively influencing the business. It’s like telling your kid they can’t have ice cream, but you’ll make pancakes when you get home. It’s a win-win.
Allow for flexible schedules
The normal workday is a staple of many modern businesses. A nine to five job cycle keeps everything in check and allows people to have a routine they can follow. At least, that’s what it does in theory. The reality of the matter is a bit different. It turns out, working nine to five without exception might actually harm productivity in a business.
Not all work is done during this timeframe during the day. Sometimes, your business deals with clients halfway across the world. If they are in different time zones, they might give out projects and assignments at different times of the day. On the other hand, some people might be more productive during the day, while others might be better off after hours.
Having a set schedule is good for habit-forming and organisation, but it shouldn’t be an absolute must. Some more flexible schedules might produce much better results in the long run. Just like you never force your child to do their homework at a specific time of the day, you shouldn’t make work times absolute.
Instead, allow for some leeway here and there. If something comes up or an employee is better of working later hours on a specific day, allow them to do their work in a way that will create the best results. As long as they’re delivering same or better results with their work, you will know that you’ve made the right decision.
Have your kids ever broken something they shouldn’t have? Unfortunately, it’s an inevitable part of having children. They aren’t exactly careful with what they play with. If it was something that you cherish, you might want to set an example with harsher punishment. Grounding your child for a couple of weeks doesn’t seem out of the question. However, does this produce good results or does it simply lead to more issues?
You need to consider the consequences of your punishments in business as well. Mistakes and laziness need to be reprimanded but don’t take punishments to unnecessary lengths. Every move you make needs to be in the interest of the business. When an employee is late on a due project, you shouldn’t always rush to reduce their pay or hours.
This would only further reduce their motivation to work. Because of this, it might be wiser to look at the problem from a different perspective. The punishment is less important than the rehabilitation. How do you get them to finish their work when it’s due next time? Fair punishment and stern talks seem to be the most effective solutions. Never go overboard on the discipline, as it can backfire tremendously. You need to value your employees even when they’re temporarily not at their best.
Both your household and your business work on the same principle. You work together to help each other out. The exchange is a bit one-sided while your kids are still young, but the principle is still there. You have to teach your kids to cooperate and look out for each other at a young age. It wouldn’t hurt to have them help you out when they can, either. Raising them with a drive to cooperate will help them overcome many difficulties in life.
You should look at employees the same way. You shouldn’t look at them as children, but rather as people you want to see succeed. Cooperation and teamwork are the cornerstones of a successful business. Some people are better at this than others, but anyone can learn how to work as part of a team. It should be your priority to help everyone learn to cooperate and work together. How do you achieve this?
As with any skill, you need to hone it to get better. Teambuilding exercises can do wonders for creating team cohesion. Get people to work together during seminars and training sessions, it’s a good way to improve work relations between employees.
Correct bad behaviour
No parent should be afraid to identify and correct bad behaviour in their kids. It’s one of the core tenets of parenting. Your employees aren’t children, but sometimes you’re going to have to treat them as if they were children.
Your employees are grown adults, but that doesn’t mean they’re always going to act like it. It’s not uncommon for adults to behave like children if they’re in a bad mood or something doesn’t go their way. This isn’t something you should tolerate in a professional environment. Your company culture depends on how your employees interact with each other and clients.
During arguments and disputes, stress the importance of reasonable arguments and don’t leave any room for childish outbursts. Anger and frustration are valid feelings, but that doesn’t mean they need to be expressed in an immature way. Name-calling and yelling should be left at the children’s playground.
Help realize potential
Everyone wants to fulfil their dream and achieve a certain level of success. It’s part of what drives individuals to do things in the first place. People have all kinds of different goals in life. Achieving them isn’t just a matter of effort and skill, there’s also their environment. This is why learning is so important for children. They need to have the absolute best possible education for the opportunity to realize their full potential.
Your business should provide a similar environment for growth. Nobody wants to be stuck in one place, with no possibility of improving. This is why people build careers out of their jobs. This growth is extremely important for the process of self-actualization. It also helps motivate employees to do their absolute best.
Every business needs to provide opportunities for their employees to grow. Franchises are especially fond of motivating employees with quick promotions and chances of improving. Franchise owners can also achieve rapid success if they get the business going right. It’s not uncommon for good business leaders to run several examples of a franchise, simply because they can. Managers of successful bubble tea locations can enjoy the benefits of quick growth without the original business holding them back. It’s important that every level of employee is given room to grow so that they can be motivated to give it their best shot.
Keep a level playing field
Everyone wants to be treated fairly. Nobody wants to work in an environment where certain individuals are above the rules. When someone is given special privileges, it’s going to breed contempt within others. This can be especially tricky in competitive work environments.
Nobody likes being the second-favourite child. Even from a young age, children can easily take note of unfair treatment in the household. If a sibling is being judged by different standards, this can cause a rift between the children. If age or performance allow a child to circumvent the rules, this will teach your children that the rules don’t really mean much on their own. It’s going to defeat the purpose.
You should always treat your family fairly. Your work family shouldn’t be an exception. Employees shouldn’t be given special privileges because they know the right people or have the best results. When it comes to the rules, everyone should be seen as equal. When everyone is put on equal footing, they can be certain that their effort is the only thing that will get them places. Otherwise, they might not want to put in the effort, since other factors might be more important.
A well-run business is achieved in much the same way as a well-run household. It’s not all too surprising, considering the fact that people like to be treated a certain way, no matter their age. There are a couple of principles that you should adhere to if you want to see your business thrive. Take some of these examples to heart and you’re going to see some improvements overnight.
Contributed by Lucas Parker