Life Lessons from Lemonade

For those of you that are parents, you’ll understand there is nothing quite like seeing the pride and sense of accomplishment in our kids when they achieve.  Over Spring Break, my daughters, Lily (7) and Aven (6) set up a lemonade stand for the first time in our yard.  We went to the store, bought cups, lemons and sugar; went home and made lemonade and signs. Then for two hours, I sat back and watched my girls sell their wares.  There were some stumbles getting started, some boring slow moments followed by moments of pure elation, like when “Blue Maserati Man” stopped and paid $10 for his $0.50 cup of lemonade saying, “Keep the change, I love supporting local small business!”

As I watched my girls through the dining room window, I started relating this experience to managing employees in the workplace.  Like my little ones, employees do their best when they are supported by management and then left alone to embark on their experience independently.  Lily and Aven learned so much on their own and walked away feeling more confident and successful, more willing to try new things.

There is a reason the term “micro-manage” is a dirty word- nobody likes it.  It sends a message that you don’t believe in your employees, and after a while, they won’t believe in themselves, either.  When you hire people, define what success in their role looks like, help them get started, then get out of their way.  Ask what they need from you rather than tell them what to do.  You will build great loyalty, earn their respect, and help them grow into confident, competent, and contributing members of your team.

In most cases being a good boss means hiring talented people and then getting out of their way.

-Tina Fey


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