A few weeks ago, I attended a refresher program on Basic Management Function. This program is offered to management level who handles people in their department/section/unit. It taught more on leading and managing and how one differs from the other and how we, as managers, should attain to become both.
I won’t go over the work-related stuff here but on how our speaker related the topic to parenting because managing a household with children is pretty much managing people in the workplace. Interesting right? Let’s start because this is one looong read but I hope you get to read 'til the end.
First off, I
share all about PLOC, management/leadership funtions where:
P - Planning
L – Leading
O – Organizing
C – Controlling
Those who are already parents
most likely get this one at first glance but here are a few insights on these
Planning is important in a household. In our household, major vacations especially with kids are planned at least a year in advance. We make sure that everything is well thought of: location should be kid-friendly and safe, budget is computed / allocated properly to include meal per day/person, lodging, gas, entrance fees to sites, incidental costs, etc. When going on a major trip for 3-5 days with kids, make sure logistics are all considered.
Another thing that I feel is important to share is to plan your goals and budget every year. Set your goals and identify which are short term, mid-term and long term. A short term goal may be a trip to a local amusement park like Zoobic Safari; something that can be achieved in a 6 months to two years and costs a fair amount of budget. Fair amount depends on each family considering your household income and expenditure.
A mid-term goal would be like buying a car or an asian trip, something achievable in 3-5 years time. Meaning if you plan and save for it, can you achieve it in 3-5 years time? Achieve it and not go bankrupt, that is, so planning is important. If a new car isn’t achievable as mid-term goal then move it to long-term goal. A long-term would be something major like owning a business, a house and lot, a
Europe trip or children’s
college education. Super major and cost a lot of money and time. Before we bought the house, we made a 5-year budget plan considering that by 2009 we will have baby number two and that by 2011 Sophie will be going to school. We looked at how our finances would look considering those factors (and others that may arise) before we made the decision to quit renting and get our own home. In making a major decision, it is also very helpful to know the nice-to-haves and the need-to-haves so you know where to set your priority.
As parents set, we need to set our goals early in our family life and that we revisit every six months or every year to know where we are in terms of achieving them.
Now comes Leading. First, it is important to identify the difference between a leader and a manager. According to our speaker:
Formulate strategies Implements strategies
Provides directions Administer projects/plans
Innovate/Visionary Day to day / short run
Focus on people focus on systems/structure
While a leader is more focused on visions, plans, strategies, managers are more of the day-to-day implementer of goals. A manager makes sure that employees are guided well to achieve the vision of the leader. While leaders are focused on macro-management, nd managers are micro-managers. But don’t you think that parents (as well as managers) should be both a leader and manager; someone who thinks on a big scale and someone who can also focus on the everyday necessities of the family? I think so too. Not easy but that’s how we can become effective at what we do.
Organizing. This is pretty obvious, right? What happens when parents are not organized at home? Chaos, right? Chaos on how you manage the kids, how money/budget is handled, how to handle household. For any group to be considered an organization, it should have a system in place - a set of rules and policies that becomes the guiding principle of the members. A family should have a system as well. Here’s one tip that I learned from my mom and share to friends who ask me how we manage our finances: our system of managing the budget is that there is only one parent who handles and budgets the money. At the start of our marriage, hubby and I decided that I handle the finances since I'm better at that. We also agreed on how much to spend for school fees, household expenses and even the occasional expenses like parties, travels, charities/donations, Christmas gifts. It’s all budgeted. So every payday, he gives me most of his salary (I let him leave a budget for his comics for his sanity sake:) ) and we set aside money for the house, bills, school, etc. Because I handle the budget, I know where we are overspending and discuss with husband how we can get back on track. If a rule or system needs to be created to manage like say electrical or water bills, so be it. A system becomes futile if not everyone comply so it is also important that every family member knows and understands why such a rule was made and why they have to follow. Do I make it seem like at the helm of our household? Not really. The truth is that all plans and decisions are made by husband and I and working
Controlling. According to the speaker, as a manager we cannot and should not control people but only performances, deliverables, budget, workload. This is so right. What happens if you try to control your child, either they become rebelious or lose confidence. What happens when you try to control you household help? They feign a family emergency and leave for good!
A set of rules/system is important in the family as well as in the workplace but each needs to be applied differently based on the kind of environment that we have. With the kids, it should always be positive reinforcement and rules should be well understood on why they are being enforced. Example: to pack away toys after playing, we need to explain why this has to be done and what happens if they don’t follow (someone could get hurt with the clutter or they could lose their precious toys). As with our household help, I have a way of monitoring their performance. Every 6 months, we have a Perfomance Appraisal at work so that’s also a reminder for me that, at home, I should go and talk one-on-one with the household helps too. It usually starts with something positive like how they have adapted well to the routine of the house, how the kids adore them, etc. Then discuss how they can further improve on certain aspects that needs improvement like getting instructions right, etc. If you think your household is doing well then just spend sometime to talk about their family, how they are, etc. I’m sure they have a lot to share but are just shy to initiate.
Quite a long read but I hope you still reached this part of my message. As parents, we only want the best for our family and that we do all we can to rear responsible children. I hope that I was able to impart something helpful and insightful to you dear parents :)