What Toddlers and Employees Have In Common

We don’t always get to do what we want.

I know that seems like a silly thing to say. Everyone knows that, right?

But it’s one of those things that’s easy to say and harder to do on a consistent basis.

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve worked with, worked for, and worked around that seem to need this reminder regularly.

This is critical for those in leadership roles.

As a father of a toddler, I'm always trying to teach my son new things: words, gestures, movements, etc. I can talk to him and try to teach him all I want, but he’s learning the most by watching what I do.

Even when I’m not paying attention, he’s watching me and mimicking me. Just the other day, I forgot something in the car and said, “aw nuts, gotta run to the car real quick.” And my son looked at me, slapped his hands on his legs and loudly said, “AHHHH NUT,” (he doesn’t quite has the “s” sound down yet).

As a leader, your team acts the same way. They’re more sophisticated than a toddler, but they’re watching everything you do and acting accordingly. That behavior bleeds into the rest of your company and culture.

If you’re handing off work to people who are already at capacity just because you don’t feel like doing it, people are going to take notice. And not in a good way.

Your job as a leader is to model the type of behavior you want to see from the rest of your team. That means doing the work you don’t want to do and doing it consistently without complaining. 

Everything you do matters and people are watching.

As a leader, you knew what you signed up for. Time to act like it or get out.