When I have a home management issue, I turn to my favorite manager for advice--my husband. He has been a manager for over 5 years, 2 of which he owned his own business. I think he's a great one--after all, I've enjoyed "working" for him for the past 11 years. :-) Apparently his guys do, too. When he left one job to start his own business, two of his employees asked if they could come work for him!
It is surprising to me how many corporate management techniques apply to us as home managers. I guess it shouldn't be. I mean we've all heard FlyLady talk about routines, for example. However, when my husband talks about routines as essential to good management, I really stop and listen because he has no clue about FlyLady (I think the purple tutu outfit scares him away!).
Here are a few lessons I've learned from my favorite manager:
- Follow the same routine every day. My husband and other managers have a certain routine that their employees follow each day. He doesn't have to hold a meeting each morning to tell them what they need to be doing. They simply do the same job the same way they've always done it. I can see how this would be a beautiful system for my little "employees"!
- Get the work done before you play. O.K. this seems like a no-brainer, but part of my work as a mother of little ones is play. However, it is too easy to take the "play is a child's work" idea too far and let them get away with doing precious little to help out the home and family.
- Your employees are people, too. No one likes to have orders barked at them all day long. They have real needs and feelings whether they are grown men in a factory or office or little children under a mother's care. In the name of "production", I sometimes forget this.
- Yelling is a poor motivator. My husband's boss told him that the only thing he could really fault him on was how he never got red in the face or raised his voice to his employees. I found it amusing that this could be considered a fault. However, he followed his words with this, "It seems to be working for you, so if you can manage that way, go ahead." I must say that my husband is very well able to manage this way as he has managed our home without getting red in the face and raising his voice for 11 years. The kids just know when he means business. I, on the other hand, have struggled a bit with this. I get my finger wagging in a child's face and I just see the switch being turned off (this especially applies to sons--unfortunately daughters seem to have the capability of imitating their mothers to a fault...or should I say in a fault). It is no wonder the Bible says, "A soft answer turneth away wrath."
- Know how to change gears without letting production suffer. My husband has setbacks at his job just as I have. It is tempting to think as I see him drive away to work that he just goes and completes everything on schedule in perfect order while I struggle with uncooperative kids and cleaning up messes made by said children (and occasionally, their mother). No job is perfect, so the key is to know how to adjust when things break down or children decide to throw fits at the worst times.
- Keep the goal in mind. Management talks a lot about goal setting. They have numbers and evaluators for everything. My husband knows exactly if he is producing what he needs to be or if he is under the goal. How much simpler that would make things as a home manager! Instead of running around, wildly cleaning every day, I can set a standard of cleanliness for my home and do my best to keep it there. I can decide what kind of meals we need and when and do my best to deliver. Above all, I can remember that my children are the reason I am here and everything else besides their spiritual training is secondary. Which makes my job just a bit more eternally important--but don't tell my husband!
This post is linked to the Homemaking Link-Up on Raising Homemakers.