Dear Subscriber,

My latest article follows.

Are you Parenting or Managing Your Staff?

Experience shows me that people are parenting rather than managing their staff more times than I’d like to report.   Am I talking to you?

Here are 5 reasons I think this might be so:

1)      Is it because they have moved up through the  ranks and are now the ‘boss’ or ‘manager’ of someone they sat alongside of—a former peer—and they’re uncomfortable in that position?

2)      Is it because they feel awkward or uneasy ‘pulling rank’?

3)      Is it because they had no management training but were promoted into the job where assumptions were made that they could do it, that it would be no problem?

4)      Is their modus operandi parental from the get go?

5)      All of the above.

Regardless of where it comes from, it’s my opinion parenting is not appropriate, nor does it belong in the business world, only in the personal domain with family.

What is the difference between managing and parenting?  Let’s have a definition to work with here.

Manage – To handle or direct with a degree of skill; to exercise, executive, administrative and supervisory direction of; to direct the professional career of

Parenting – the raising of a child by its parents – raising, rearing, motherhood

By these definitions I believe the distinctions are apparent
(no pun intended.)

This leads me to define leading vs. managing.

Management consists of controlling a group or a set of entities to accomplish a goal.

Leadership refers to an individual’s ability to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward organizational success. Influence and inspiration separate leaders from managers, not power and control.

In India, M.K. Gandhi inspired millions of people to fight for their rights.  He walked shoulder to shoulder with them so India could achieve independence in 1947. His vision became everyone’s dream and ensured that the country’s push for independence was unstoppable.

We need leaders like him who can think beyond problems, have a vision, and inspire people to convert challenges into opportunities, a step at a time.

I was recently interviewed on this topic of parenting vs. managing and one of the questions was:

Rosanne, our research shows that contact center agents appreciate a ‘family’ feeling in the center.  Sounds like you are saying the ‘family’ analogy shouldn’t be taken to the point of imposing a parent/child relationship, correct?

And my response was:

Yes, I believe it’s all about boundaries.  If we use your ‘family’ analogy, I’m sure you’re aware of parents who try to ‘be-friend’ their children rather than parenting them.  There comes a time when someone needs to pull rank—in either domain—for the safety or benefit of the person and/or the customer and/or the company.

If you are doing self evaluation right now to see where you fit in, here are 5 questions to ask yourself:

  1. How does my communication affect the way the person is responding to me?
  2. How does the person’s communication influence my response?
  3. Am I Parent?  Am I using words like ‘should or shouldn’t, always, nevers?
  4. Am I Child?  Using words like I want/I need/I wish/I won’t/I can’t?
  5. Am I Adult?  Am I being respectful, open, assertive and sensitive to the person?

Additionally, here are questions to ponder so you can create baselines/ benchmarks.   In retrospect very simply ask yourself these 5 questions?

  1. What went well?
  2. What didn’t go so well?
  3. How can I improve next time?
  4. What can I learn from this?
  5. What’s not perfect yet?

In a perfect world, here are 10 tips I would like to see a manager do or be:

1)    Give me constructive feedback when/if there is an issue with my performance or if asked

2)   Be specific in what I do best (so I can take ownership and continue), and where I need improvement

3)   Set boundaries and guidelines for expectations

4)   Create a relationship of trust so I can count on her/his support when I need it

5)   Generate a career path with and for me

6)   Give me reassurance of confidentiality in all our communications

7)   Treat me with dignity and respect

8)   Motivate/inspire me

9)   Model for me/lead by example

10)               And please, don’t treat me like a child!

We believe coaching is one way to support this relationship by addressing these topics, among others:

* Challenges and Opportunities
* Goal Setting – Realistic and Outrageous
* Crystal Clear Vision
* Prioritization–Delegation

  • Internal and External Expectations
  • Boundary Setting
  • Articulate Communication
  • Influencing/Empowering Others

If you’re asking yourself why you should have a coach, I would say:

  1. First, because you are committed to your well being.
  2. Second, because you are committed to attaining your life goals–both professionally and personally.
  3. Third, because you want to finish strong, and
  4. Fourth, but not at all least, because you are the CEO of your life!

Were it not for my coaches, none of my books would have been written, let alone published, and the success I have in my life today is far beyond what I even had imagined when I first began those sessions.

Not only has my professional life propelled me beyond my (initial) expectations, but my personal life has been positively impacted as well.

For those of you who like/need to see statistical results…

Executive coaching* includes benefits such as:

77% improvement in relationships with direct reports

71% increase in relationships with immediate supervisors

67% increase in teamwork

63% increase in relationships with peers

61% increase in job satisfaction

44% increase in organizational commitment

37% improvement in relationships with clients

(*McGovern, Lindemann, Vergara, Murphy, Barker and Warrenfeltz with Manchester, Inc)

Another study* reported these benefits:

53% productivity

48% quality

39% customer service

34% customer complaint reductions

32% employee retention

23% cost reductions

22% bottom line profitability

(*Merrill C. Anderson, PhD, MetrixGlobal, LLC)

Remember, if you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you got.

10 Most Powerful 2-letter Words: IF IT IS TO BE, IT IS UP TO ME.


Rosanne D’Ausilio, Ph.D. President
Consultant, Customer Service Expert, Master Trainer, Best Selling Author, Executive Coach
Human Technologies Global Inc

“champions for the human”

845/520 6432, fax 928/223-6165