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Lead like a parent

Updated: Jan 3, 2021

Why is it that we so easily seek guidance when learning to communicate with our children but when it comes to our employees, we miss the mark?

I recently picked up the book “No-Drama Discipline” by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson. Working to identify why, as parents, our communication often misses the mark… I figured this book would have the answers. Seigel and Bryson outline the four steps necessary in connecting to children during conflict and I was struck by the similarities between employee communication techniques and lessons learned from this parenting communication philosophy.

1) Communicate Comfort – This primarily, non-verbal technique communicates safety and acceptance

2) Validate – There is absolutely no way to advise and redirect actions without first validating and truly understanding the child

3) Listen – When your child feels safe and heard, he/she will open up and begin to explain the circumstances around the conflict

4) Reflect – Here is where the parent can step in and help the child reflect on his/her actions and plan better for the future

This technique is not just for parents. As leaders, it is critical that we recognize the need our teams have to be heard and understood. It is not enough to instill fear, resilience and awe. Leaders must be trustworthy, sensitive and empathetic. Especially today - when millennials are interested in having an impact and making a difference – leaders must ensure they are validating and listening rather than always correcting.

Good communication is a muscle. We need to work at it – improve technique and share lessons learned. Next time you are looking for some leadership advice, perhaps consider a parenting blog.


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