Why Your Employees Should Be More Like Your Children Than Your Friends

Why Your Employees Should Be More Like Your Children Than Your Friends
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A friendly workplace is a happy workplace, but unfortunately there are limits. Being an effective manager sometimes means having to set the friendliness aside to get to the right outcome. That doesn’t mean you can be a selfish pig; it means you have to act more like a parent.

picture from Shutterstock

Beauty retailer Birchbox’s co-founder Katia Beauchamp put the point well in a recent interview with the New York Times:

I guess it’s what being a parent feels like — you care about your child, but you still have to ask them to do things and set goals and milestones for them, and tell them when they are not meeting those objectives.

Just like a family, you want everyone in your workplace to get along, but you have to accept that some conflict is inevitable.

Katia Beauchamp of Birchbox, on the Strength of Optimism [New York Times via Business Insider]


  • mmm, i haven’t read the whole article but I don’t really like the sound of this.

    It seems really disrespectful to me to see your employees that way. As someone who has run their own businesses I have to say one of the biggest challenges as a boss is to be able to see things from the employees perspective and to remember that they are a mature and competent individual.

    It’s way to easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you could do everything better because you see each challenge in isolation and putting yourself in the role of parent makes you the arbiter of truth which i don’t think leads to a good atmosphere.

    It’s much healthier for everyone to be on the same page with regards to how things are done, how schedules are held to and then the corporate culture becomes socialised and everyone is a part of maintaining that fabric.

    harder I know but the other way sounds like it would lead to some horrible workplaces with micromanaging bosses who have no respect for your knowledge or abilities because you are a child.

    • I spent 12 months as acting manager, and made the opposite mistake – I treated my small team as mature and competent individuals when in reality one really was like a child, one was incompetent and unaware of it and one was mature and competent enough but had no initiative…

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