I read a terrific blog post the other day by Claire Lew, called What To Remember When You Are The Boss.
It reminded me to be more thoughtful with my communications in the office. No matter how accessible I try to be, I am always “the boss,” and all communications with my team are filtered through this lens. If you have employees in the workplace, I hope you’ll read her full article.
But it also struck me that several facets of Lew’s post transcend the workplace and shed light on how our communications are perceived by our children. Here’s an excerpt, where I have simply substituted the words “boss” and “employee” for “parent” and “child.”
When you’re the parent, there’s one important thing you need to remember: you’re the parent. This means that, whether you like it or not, there’s an inherent power dynamic in every interaction you have with your child. Your off-hand suggestion, which feels so casual to you, can be interpreted as a mandate. Your critique, while well-intentioned, can feel like a death blow to a child.
. . .Every statement you make and action you take is heightened. How are you coming across? What’s your body language? Do you ask questions? Do you listen?
It’s funny: when I first read this blog post with my “boss” hat on, it struck a chord. I was reminded that I do sometimes make casual off-hand critiques without contemplating the ramifications toward my team, and that try as I might, I don’t always listen as well as I should. I was grateful for Lew’s reminder.
But when I read the post just now with my parent and educator hat on, I got defensive: Of course I am careful with my critiques to my children! Of course I listen to my kids!
Hmmm. I wonder why I felt so defensive?
At any rate, now that it’s settled in, I’m grateful I read the article with my parent hat on. It never hurts to be reminded how we can be perceived by our children.