Like most people in the business world I’ve wondered what it would be like to have a child running my business or company? To be clear, I am not talking about about a teenager, I am referring to 7-10 year old. So humor me, and let’s take a look.
BUILDING TRUST – Children are notoriously transparent so I believe this would be a strong suit. Think about it, there would be very few times in which you didn’t know what was on his/her mind so worrying about the little things that slow down productivity would be off the table. Also, since children really do like and need human interaction (for the most part) there would never be a lack of communication or at least a connection. Therefore, unlike some business situations understanding what your leader truly wants from you would be simple and quite refreshing. Lastly, as all of us know, children have an innocence about them that is wonderful and endearing so it would be easy to trust that whatever they are saying is what they really mean.
EMPATHY – Experiences shape our demeanor, our style, and our views of people and situations. The more experiences that we have, in some situation, the more cynical we become, especially as it relates to people. Children are more likely to forgive mistakes (at times forget them) that their team members may make because they do not know any better. They are definitely more likely to understand when someone is not quite right in a moment, which as adults we struggle with at times. Having a child as your business owner would also (more than likely) present very black and white situations when it came to understanding people because of the erratic emotional swings but I have to think at the end of the day a child is more apt to display the level of compassion that all of us have had at an earlier time in our lives.
ACCOUNTABILITY – Yes, this would be the most challenging part about having a child as your supervisor and based upon experience age is not the only barrier that stymies some leaders in this category. The bright side is, separate and aside from the occasional temper tantrum, kids do not filter very well so you would definitely know if improvement was needed. The other positive that a child may bring to this leadership trait is being very persistent about a task or duty because once they want something, it’s obvious and seems to not go away until the task is completed. Interesting, because in the business world this could be called having a “vision or singular focus to build consistency”.
CHANGE MANAGEMENT – Some could argue that this would be a total disaster (it very well could be) but I would say that children have a lower resistance to change agility than adults can have due to their lack of exposure. Think about it, the most difficult things about change in the business environment are the stories we tell ourselves due to a lack of communication. That being said, most children have an inquisitive nature as it is, so they would be more likely to ask for help and get as many people involved as possible. The next item to consider with change is since most children have a lower attention span (like most adults) and the desire to have a little fun they seemingly would be more aggressive with wanting to shake things up on a more regular basis.
Okay, I know that some of this is a bit far-fetched but is it really? I guess the message is being a leader is a much more about the human elements of caring, communication, and deciding to build a culture that people can thrive in than we make it at times. Of course a child would struggle with building a strategy that would sustain a business but I also believe having the intestinal fortitude to surround themselves with the right people who can do those things are signs of a good leader as well. Sound familiar?