Applying leadership principles at home.

by Nathan Darling - Oct 02, 2009

Many times over the course of my life I have heard the phrase, “That man is a born leader”, but never have I heard “that person is a born manager”,  nor a “born supervisor”, nor even a “born boss”.

Ordinarily such a thing would be of little to no interest to me, but my wife was out of town for a couple of weeks, and as I struggled with the complexities of getting my children to school on time, and cleaning the house, and making food, and generally not destroy anything, I found my leadership skills called into question.   I watched a training video from our Management and Leadership series titled Quality Focused Supervision.  It trains on “influence-style leadership”, which focuses on influencing your employees with praise and good listening skills.  This I had to try.   After watching the video a couple of times I went home and called a family council with my 3 sons.  I set them down and calmly explained that the house was a filthy disgusting rat hole of doom and decay, and that a change was needed.  They didn’t much care, but seemed ok with the idea.  Then I suggested that they would each be responsible for part of the process.  This didn’t go over well.  I tried to address their concerns, but it turned out their concerns were that they did not want to do anything, but hang around in their underwear all day and play guitar hero.  We were at a bit of an impasse.  Had I followed the advice of the training module, I would have had no choice left but to fire them.


This is when a stroke of brilliance struck me.  I turned to my oldest son (who is 18) and pointed out that if he was not on board with the family cleaning, cooking, and caretaking schedule he was certainly old enough to find lodging elsewhere.  It was heartwarming how quickly he remembered his familial obligations and volunteered to pitch in; truly heartwarming.  Unfortunately my other sons are 10 and 8.  Legally I cannot make the same offer to them.  I bought them a couple of pack of Yu-Gi-Oh cards and taped them to the ceiling and told them they could have them as soon as the chores were done.   (The training does not specifically suggest offering your employees Yu-Gi-Oh cards.)

Anyway, the news is the children pitched in and a semblance of order was restored, and when my wife came home….well I guess my cleaning standards don’t really match up to hers, but that’s not the point.  The point is that I found a way to influence my children to do what was needed without having to threaten them.

(except for the part about kicking out my 18 year old.)…  Ok maybe I need to watch the training again.  I’ll let you know if I learn anything new.

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4 Responses to “Applying leadership principles at home.”

  1. By cheerio on Oct 9, 2009 | Reply

    Praise and good listening skills have worked with the children in my household, but I’m wondering if your Leadership and Management series would have any ideas for managing the adult male in my house? Now that would be helpful! Especially the managing aspect.

  2. By Nathan Darling on Oct 14, 2009 | Reply

    Great Question Cheerio. I think this may be what you are looking for.

  3. By Sheena on Oct 15, 2009 | Reply

    Kudos! I love hearing about how you are putting our training to work at home. 🙂

  4. By Nathan Darling on Oct 15, 2009 | Reply

    Thank you Sheena. Wait till I tell you how I am applying A+ at home. I am kinda excited to read that one myself. 🙂

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