I Don’t Need Another Parent – Do You?

I Don’t Need Another Parent – Do You?

One of the most common complaints I hear from my clients is, “Why won’t my team step up and just do the stuff that I would do if I was that was me?”.  I was talking about this live on LinkedIn today in fact.  (Watch it here)

Often in these scenario’s I also get told that certain individuals are acting almost like children, throwing toys out of prams, refusing to do what they have been told to do, and employing playground politics at the coffee machine.

Well, there is often a very clear reason why that happens.  And it’s your fault. 

YOU are showing up as the parent in the relationship. 

Answer this honestly.  Are you checking up on their every move, or you are doing everything for your team, or perhaps you criticise everything they do wrong, while forgetting to praise the things they are doing right?

If you think that any of the above is true – then you are absolutely showing up as a parent at work, and I don’t know about you, but most people don’t need another parent.  And I’m pretty sure you don’t need a bunch of children at work, right?

So, instead of constantly telling your team what to do and how to do it, what should you do instead? 

Well, you need to establish an adult to adult relationship with your team.  When this happens, they will enjoy their job more, they will step up and make decisions, and you get more time to do YOUR job. 

And how do you do that?

Well – it’s simple.  Just do these two things. 

Number 1 – trust them to be at that level (an adult in the relationship)

Number 2 – implement a coaching style, where you are helping them to be enabled to do what it is you want them to do.

“OK Julie – sounds simple – but how exactly do I do that”,

….you may be thinking.

How do you implement a coaching style?  Well, you need to get them to start thinking for themselves.  Back in the day when I was in the police force, I had a mentor who constantly answered my questions with, “Well, what do you think the answer could be?”.

At the time I found it really annoying because I just wanted the answer.  However, long term it was the exact right strategy and without a doubt, it helped me reach Inspector level.

Now when you start to do this, I have to warn you, it might be quite painful. 

They may not have an answer, you may have to tease it out of them, and it will certainly take you longer the first time.  It definitely WOULD be quicker to do it yourself (which is what you might be thinking). 

But here’s the thing.  As long as you consistently ask them what they think every time they ask you a question – then one day they will surprise you.  Instead of saying, “We have  problem what should we do”, maybe they say, “I have this problem and I think we should do this”, and then eventually it becomes,

“I had this problem and this is what I did about it”. 


Once you are at that stage – then you are in an adult/adult relationship.  Your staff will be happier, they will more easily take responsibility for their own jobs (because you are not doing everything for them, and not shouting at them if they get something wrong).

And, you will be happier because you aren’t having to do your job AND their jobs at the same time.  Sound good?

This is one of the strategies I teach on the Leaders Launchpad.  If you’d like to know more about that ping me a message to julie@thinkbedoleadership.com

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