Parenting and Business Leadership Parallels Business Leadership Dental Marketing and Parenting More than 5 years ago when I first became a parent, I remember feeling a great deal of pressure to choose between business and family. I chose both and I’m so glad I did. As my family was growing, so was my business and I found that all too often the lessons learned at home actually made me a much stronger leader at work, and vice versa. When my eldest daughter needs to get dressed for school, get ready for bed, clean up toys, or do just about anything, I have to convince her. Sometimes she even says, “okay” and then goes back to playing. It can be frustrating, however, convincing my stubborn daughter to do what she needs to do has made my verbal persuasion skills strong. I’ve learned that if I don’t share a compelling reason as to why she needs to get something done, she won’t take action. This is very similar to interactions with employees. Once a person understands on a strong level why a (sometimes seemingly insignificant) step must be completed fully, they begin to deem it as important. Sharing your “why” can be enough for some children and employees. However, thanks to my first daughter, I’ve also learned that others may need more. Hearing what would happen if the given task is not completed turned out to be that “more”. Now, in business and at home I don’t like utilizing fear tactics. With my daughter, however, I would have never been able to get her to brush her teeth without showing her photos of rotten teeth. She had to see for herself what would happen if her teeth were not brushed. This holds true for some employees too. As leaders, both at home and at the office, we must share not only why a task or responsibility is important, but also that the consequences of neglecting that responsibility go far beyond a simple “time-out”, or professional disciplinary action. Even the smallest of oversights can have a monumental impact on the business I look back at feeding my firstborn when she was 1-3 and remember begging and pleading for her to eat. I remember bribing, making “fun” looking snacks and food, and implementing countless sales tactics that just didn’t work. It wasn’t until I let her become a part of the process that she would eat. I let her stir the pot of oatmeal or crack the egg. Whatever food she made naturally tasted better to her. She took pride in her work. When I sit down to recreate systems at the office or re-delegate responsibilities, I understand the importance of having each team member take an active role in the decision-making process. A similar idea comes into play when training employees in a new skill. Just like teaching my children to ride a bike, writing business manuals for seemingly simple tasks must include clear step by step instruction. I know that to truly learn a skill, the trainee must actually take the steps themselves, not just watch others. Everything we learn in life can be reapplied to everything else, and business is no exception. The next time someone questions how you’ll be able to run your business as a parent or involved grandparent, tell them it’ll only make you better, more compassionate, more loving, more forgiving and more supportive. From experience, I can tell you that these skills are much more important to the success of your business than some may think.