I had an interesting experience the other night. We were trimming the tree, and, because I was handling snacks, and drinks, and Janet was handling nativity scenes, I said to our 11-year old that he was in charge of the tree. It didn’t occur to me, when I said that, that he suddenly saw himself in a management role with respect to my mother, a friend nearby, and his little brother and sister. That is, however, what happened. He enthusiastically inhaled and took charge.
It’s an interesting experience to see somebody be put in charge of a project and, to see how they operate. We all do it as managers, sometimes more consciously than at other times.
Are they going to be too strong, too weak? Are they going to start commanding, directing, or simply overseeing?
As I watched our 11-year old, it was clear to me that he saw his role as being directional, but not preemptive. Is that a particular management style? You bet. And, in fact, he did a good job with Mom’s lack of mobility, he had her handling one section of the tree. Since our 3-year old was well, “3” he had her handling the lower branches, and so forth. There are a whole lot of management styles which are preemptive, not directional. And sometimes, that’s needed. But, not this time. And not for tree trimming.
It’ll be interesting to give him some other managerial experiences in the next couple years and see what happens.
Original writing date: December 4, 2006