What my kids teach me about workforce dynamics Part 3 of 4

This is the third in a four-part series that will explore workplace personalities, and how different, unique strengths can be properly honed to achieve a balanced team.

If you’ve followed my first two posts, you will see that I am breaking down my kids as a means to study employee and workplace dynamics. Now besides giving my children something to yell at me for when they are 16 – “I read what you wrote about me when I was a kid and I hate you for it!” – I hope that it can be a fun way to seek out some keys on this subject. See my previous posts here. Now onto the next kid….

Brecken is my 2-year-old daughter…. who absolutely runs our entire household. If our family were assigning parts for a science fiction movie, Brecken would be the evil genius gone bad. She is a challenge from the word go. And the worst part, she can manipulate it right back to her advantage by being the sweetest, most precious girl you have ever met in your life.

But, if she were a member of a corporate team today, she would be the one person that caused all of the problems in your environment. Co-worker drama, CHECK. Driving management crazy, CHECK. Doing exactly what you tell her NOT to do, CHECK. Convincing others to buck the system and break the rules, CHECK.

OK, Jason. So you made your other kids sound so great. What’s to like about this one? This kid is smart. Incredibly smart. At the age of 2, she is the most strategic thinker of all my children so far. She knows how to get what she wants, even if she is not supposed to have it. She uses people around her to help accomplish her goals, and they typically don’t even realize they are aiding her. For example, she can go days without eating a real meal, but will figure out a way to fill up on all of the snack food we have in our house, without being able to physically reach any of it. She works her older siblings, grandparents, and guests like a puppet master, pulling all of the right strings. And she’s the most creative problem solver in the family. No matter the obstacle, physical or mental, she ultimately gets what she wants, and I’m often amazed at what she can come up with to achieve her goal.

We’ve learned that Brecken needs two things: 1) A greater level of oversight 2) Constant mental stimulation. You see, she’s not a bad kid, she’s just bored more easily. If her brain is stimulated, she is a dream. When it’s not, she can be, well…. difficult.

Apply this concept to people you may have on your team or workgroup. Are they being stimulated enough and in the right ways? Sometimes, those “problem employees” really need a couple of things: Firm expectations (and oversight) as well as new and exciting tasks or challenges. Again, this is about knowing what makes your people tick and being able to apply it appropriately. If harnessed the correct way, these people will often emerge as your brightest strategic thinkers, having a knack at solving tough problems that no one else can figure out.

Sure, I’m not saying this holds true for everyone, but it’s certainly worth exploring. Investigate this with your subordinates and colleagues. Begin to understand what makes them tick and what motivates them. Learn about their history and accomplishments of which they are proud. This could give some needed insight into how to harness their energy in a positive direction.

Me, I’m betting that Brecken is in charge, whatever she decides to do in life. Key is that I harness her talent for the betterment of those around her, not just as a means to get more snacks…