I have begun noticing that many of the conversations I have with my daughter and the ways I respond to her are the same ways I respond to people with whom I am working. And this is especially true if I really need people to move forward and get things done. And actually “let’s just move forward” is something I say to my daughter every day. I am not suggesting you treat your employees or co-workers like children; I am suggesting that the way we deal with behavior is, well, the way we deal with behavior, no matter the setting. Here are some examples of workplace behaviors you can “parent”, based on common conversations I have with my kid.

When she is trying to get out of doing something (Laziness/Passing the Buck): This is not a negotiation or a discussion, it is a directive. I am through talking about it.

When she is talking a mile a minute in a stream of consciousness way (Over processing): I am not really listening to everything you are saying, just scanning for important information. So I stopped listening about ___ minutes ago.

When she whines about something (Whining): This strategy is not going to work. Can you tell me what it is you want or need in a normal voice and then maybe we can discuss it.

When she wants me to do something for her that she needs to do herself (Lack of initiative): I think that is your job. You need to make an attempt at it and if you really get stuck, then you can ask for my help.

When she asks for some big perk (Entitlement): Well, that is something you can work towards by doing your chores and extra work. Have you kept track of what you have accomplished this week? How much have you earned. Figure out how much you have to do to get the money to buy it.

When she won’t complete a task (Not meeting deadlines):  I am going to give you half an hour to get this done. Right now I need for to you stop doing whatever it is you are doing and get on this.

When she is interrupting me (Interruptions): Excuse me, I am still talking. Please wait until I am finished and then you can share your thoughts.

When she repeatedly does something I have asked her not to do(Insubordination): I think I have repeated myself at least ten times about not doing that. I am tired of saying it. What do you need to hear to help you understand why this is not OK. How can I help you find an alternative?

When she is throwing a tantrum (Drama): When you are done with this I will be in the other room.

So, just insert your employee or coworker into these scenarios and these tactics are applicable. Think about, if you have ever been a parent or been parented (which is everybody), the ways you have dealt with difficult situations or behaviors. Ways that you have gotten things accomplished or have actually gotten your child to do something you asked them to do and use those at work.

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