Written by Kathy Fauble, M.Ed., Director, Professional Education Services

Why are the best commercials on TV insurance commercials? They are funny and spot-on in knowing human behavior. My  favorite series is the Progressive Insurance commercials with Dr. Rick and his tough love. The ads highlight the generational divide and the scary idea that we start turning into our parents when we buy a home. In Dr. Rick’s words, “It’s a constant battle.”

As now a long-time parent I see myself in the ads, but I also see the knowledge and expertise that comes from a lifetime of experiences. It is not unlike what we do at work every day as we manage problems, adapt to change, and lend a helping hand. Communication, support, and listening. The skills you use as a parent can help you be a better manager.

#1 – Routine Communication. Find ways to sincerely communicate on a regular basis. Whether it is employee rounding, weekly briefings, email blasts, texts, or friendly chats, your employees will be more engaged if they feel you are communicating with them regularly and sincerely. And remember, communication is never one-sided. Listen and ask for feedback. You will gain new ideas and insight.

#2 – Encourage Growth. As our children grow, we give them freedom to live their lives. Be ready to give your employees the freedom to do their jobs. It can be a little scary, but the best managers give their employees opportunities to make decisions and take on responsibility. Give support. Motivate and inspire them. Be available when there is a question or concern. Help them be the best they can be.

#3 – Work through Difficult Times. There are always bumps in the road. How you respond is key. Be transparent. When there is conflict, use those emotional intelligence skills you have developed, including self-management and self-awareness.

#4 – Food is a Great Way to Bond. Bring in some treats. Plan a special meal. Everyone is in a better mood when there is food around. Food can help get a conversation started, improve your work environment, and make the day a little happier.

Yes, my husband will always comment on “blue hair” when we see someone at the store, and I’m keeping my “Live. Laugh. Love.” sign, but I’m also looking for those good things I do as a parent that make me a better manager and leader. What about you? And how are you keeping from turning into your parents??