Leadership Lessons from Kids: Ownership

Leadership Lessons from Kids: Ownership

Leadership Lessons from Kids: Ownership

As a mother, I have struggled for many years to get my kids to keep their room clean and tidy.

They just don't do it and the mess keeps adding up. Honestly, it doesn't really bother them too much as there are more interesting exciting and amazing things in the world vying for their attention on a daily basis. The mundane job of cleaning up doesn't figure in their priority list. Consequently there comes a point when it is hard for me to even look at the mess and so a clean up is done. Somewhere, they have seen this pattern and know it!

So in their mind, the equation reads as : Messy room - Ignore - Super messy room - Ignore - Super super messy room - Ignore - Super super super messy room - Ignore - Room gets cleaned.

Now this year has been particularly hard (thanks to the pandemic). Working from home and so many things to do on a regular basis, I felt it was high time for them to take ownership.

But, they were not ready or willing to do it!

Neither was I willing to continue to do it.

So I had "the talk" with them. One in which I told them that they need to own up the job and that keeping their room clean and tidy was their responsibility. And I was very clear that I wouldn't do it, come what may!

It took a few embarrassing instances and experiences for them to realize that I meant what I said about owning it up.

So in their mind, the equation now reads as : Messy room - Ignore - Super messy room - Ignore - Super super messy room - Ignore - Super super super messy room - Ignore - No one will clean, so clean up yourself.

We are in a better stage than when we started the year. It still takes some regular reminding and nudging and pushing for them to tidy up their room. But they own it up. Interestingly, they do a better job than me sometimes.

Taking this thought to the business context - Ownership is important for performance at work and individual career progress. As leaders, it is important to recognize that we need to let our teams own up at work. For that, we need to clearly tell them that they own a piece of work. And we need to let them take the ownership to deliver to best of their capacity. To make it all real - leaders needs to consciously step back and let individuals / teams figure things out - try, learn, fail, evolve and grow. After all, leadership and ownership are almost always work in progress for many of us..

What are your thoughts and comments?

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  • James Orme

    The most important thing you can do for your children is to teach them responsibility and accountability.

  • Roland Nemeth

    There are values that should be taught to all humans regardless of their culture and location.

  • Emma Tompkins

    Great leadership lesson !

  • Allan Alexander

    Environment certainly is a huge factor. Leaders grow up in challenging environments. Teaching a kid to clean his/her own room is valuable to learn organisation and time management.

  • Phillip Harrison

    My kids aren't that disciplined.... Shame on me....

  • Liam Oxley

    Amazing read

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Nischala Murthy Kaushik

Marketing Expert

Nischala is the Global Marketing Head at Wipro. She is a new age marketer who enjoys work which has a jazz and bass of logic, creativity and making a global impact. She is also an advisor / mentor with several global initiatives involving startups, technology consortia and #WomenAtWork communities. Her expertise is to craft and design high impact marketing strategies for emerging and high growth technology areas like blockchain, AI, next generation solutions. She believes the equation to marketing success is moving the dot from mind-share to market-share to profit-share. Her claim to fame is being among India's 2017 Top 100 Brand & Content Custodians, a TEDx talk, being among Twitterati and featuring in several global "Best in blogging" lists. Nischala holds an MBA from IIM Bangalore. You can follow her on Twitter @nimu9

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