Management Lessons I Learned From My Toddler

I’ve taken management classes, attended customer service seminars, but who has taught me the most valuable management lessons? My toddler, or course! Think about it; they’re completely honest, extremely determined and are the only beings on earth that still have a fresh perspective. I think it’s time we take note.

So what management lessons can we learn from toddlers?

  1. Learning new stuff is hard. But worth it. Toddlers must learn to walk, talk and relate to the world. I can’t imagine the difficulty of doing these things, but they are worth doing. If it is important, if it is truly worth accomplishing, it is going to be difficult to accomplish. Don’t quit. Keep trying. Those around you will be excited when you accomplish your goal and in the end you will always be pleased as you look back at your hard work.

  2. If it stinks. Change it. I think the reference here is fairly obvious so I won’t delve too deep. We tend to put off changing things that we know “stink” because we don’t want to go through the pain of fixing them. Ultimately we need to buck up and fix what stinks, because we will be better off when it’s done.

  3. Let them make mistakes. Don’t do it for them. As any parent can attest it is not easy to let your toddler do things on their own. It is hard to watch them struggle, especially when you know you could save them pain or do it faster. As a business leader you likely experience similar things. When you have a new employee teach them them how to do things, even if they make mistakes, even if it’s painful. If you don’t, in the end you really aren’t doing the right thing for yourself or your employee.

  4. Provide positive reinforcement. As Dale Carnegie would say, always provide “honest, sincere appreciation.” Watch the look on your toddler’s face as you congratulate them on a great job. See the improvement in attitude and enjoy the likelihood that they’ll do something that stretches their abilities in the future. The same goes for your employees. We often talk about what was done wrong. Now try telling your workers how proud you are of them and how much you appreciate their hard work. If it works with my toddler, I guarantee you it will work with your employees.

  5. Reading is important. I believe most parents read to their kids, teach them their numbers and help them learn the alphabet. They do it because they believe it is important. However, when these parents have free time they choose to veg out in front of the TV instead of diving into a new book. We teach our kids to read because it opens the world to them, it improves their vocabulary and it teaches new skills. Why is it that a vast majority of people never touch a book for leisure and enjoyment after they turn 18? When we read as adults, we grow and understand the world around us better. A team that reads is a team that succeeds. Encourage your team to pick up a book. It doesn’t even need to be related to your industry. They will come into work as better and more well rounded people and employees.

This is just the beginning of the list. Another thing I learned from my toddler is that attention spans are short and anticipation increases enjoyment. So tune in to the next post to find out the conclusion of this series.