Monday, 14 July 2008

Of Parenting and Management

If you are unfortunate enough to get sick in Sydney, you must be prepared to be extra patient and do not let the frustrating experience of seeking medical help exacerbate your condition. Usually, waiting time of 1-2 hours is guaranteed before you can see a GP at a medical center. Today, due to temporary closure of a major local medical center my family and I had to wait 5.5 hours to see a GP.

While waiting, I was browsing through the news letters piled on the coffee table in the waiting room. One article drew my attention - it's titled Sibling rivalry. What parents can do. It provides several tips for parents on how to deal with sibling rivalry. As I read through them, they looked remarkably familiar. Then it struck me, I have seen similar pointers from a management book - Leading the Professionals - How to Inspire & Motivate Professional Service Teams. There is a chapter called Manage Interpersonal Disagreements in that book. Here, I put the pointers side by side between the two:

Your Health News Letter Leading Professionals book
1. Spend special time with each child on a regular basis Tell it again and again.
2. Show and tell your kids frequently that you love each one of them. Helps team members to improve by giving feedback constructively and sensitively
3. Let each child have some private space and special things they don't have to share. Make sure team members have the resources to accomplish tasks
4. Try not to compare children Treats individuals fairly. Considers the feelings of others when giving opinions.
5. Negotiate some clear rules with your children. If you then have to step in, you are acting on the rules, not taking sides. Make no judgements and describe the problem as being one for you, the team as a whole and the individuals concerned.
6. Help your children express their feelings in words or play. Ask them in turn to describe what is going on as they see it.
7. Try not to take sides. Listen to each child in a conflict so each feels heard. Ask them in turn to describe what is going on as they see it. Ask each person to summarize what the other person has said.
8. Often it is better to let kids sort out differences themselves. Help them to listen to each other's feelings and teach them to work out fair solutions together. Step in if things are getting out of control or if someone is about to be hurt. Ask each person in turn to indicate points of agreement. Ask each of them in turn to indicate points of disagreement and to suggest ways to resolve them. Agree a date, perhaps a month later, for the three of you to get together to review progress.

Seems that handling sibling rivalry is not that different from managing a professional team. One of my ex-colleagues did compare his team with kids from time to time. What makes managing a professional team more challenging then bogs down to the size of the team.

5.5 hours later, we finally got to spend 5 minutes with the doctor before being kicked out. If you come from Asian countries, you may have been taking things for granted - if I can afford to see a doctor, I should be able to see one in no time and have his/her full attention. Things are simply not so in Australia. For those who are contemplating migrating to Australia, think again...

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