Publisher and Managing Editor for The Retail Observer
As I spoke about my plans to spend time with my children for Mother’s Day, a close friend of mine shared an insightful perspective with me on the changing roles of a mother in a child’s life. She explained that during the early and adolescent years, you are your child’s’ manager. You manage their eating and sleeping habits, make sure they understand and follow the rules. Then, as the child moves from a teenager to an adult, your role shifts to that of a consultant. This is where you no longer take full responsibility for their well being or the choices they make. Instead, you ask more questions to help them find their own way and support their decisions.
Right now, I have a daughter in the later stages and I’m finding the shift not as smooth going as I would like. Maybe it’s because she is my youngest, or maybe it’s because I’ve spent the last 3 decades in manager mode and have forgotten how to be a consultant.
Either way, these shifts in roles play out in our day-to-day lives whether you’re a parent or not, but especially if you are a business owner. If we stay in manager mode too long, we leave no room for exploration and creativity, instead we will find ourselves running a highly organized and predictably boring business. Like the saying goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”.
On the other hand, if we teeter too long in consultant mode, we will find that our business is filled with flexibility and freedom, but lacking in structure or a clear direction. This reminds me of the Peter Pan syndrome: a world of possibilities and bliss with no real commitments or responsibilities. A fun, but probably not very profitable business model.
The key, as I’ve found with my daughter, is finding the right balance between the role of manager and consultant. That sweet spot somewhere in the middle. A place that is nurturing enough for growth and strict enough to provide the needed ingredients to grow stronger.
Happy Mother’s Day,