My job is pretty stressful. I’m sure yours is too. I often have a difficult time leaving the baggage of my work week in the car when I get home on Friday night. Sometimes this means I’m not as patient as I ought to be at home. This results in a rocky weekend with the kids. Sometimes it’s Sunday afternoon before I’m in full on ‘dad mode’ and engaged.
Every third weekend I’m home alone with the kids. This means I have to wake up in ‘dad mode’ on Saturday morning ready to go, solo. One of these weekends followed a stressful week that wasn’t easy to leave behind. In fact it spilled over into the weekend and it got messy. I was impatient, lost my cool and yelled more than a few times.
Later that evening after putting the boys to bed, I asked the girls how the day went. Also known as our retro(spective) of the day. We talked about what we did in our day. What went well, what wasn’t so great and what downright … well, made us sad. They were sure to remind me of the moments where I lost my cool and yelled. I defended my position and said, “if I didn’t yell you guys would not listen.” Their response, “Yes we would. Try talking to us Dad.”
So the next day I decided to make some changes and put the feedback in practice. The results were astonishing. Everyone listened. We had a fun day. We all got along and helped each other. Needless to say retro on Sunday night went much smoother and there was more in the happy column. Making me happy …
Here’s what I learned from doing stand-ups and retros with my kids.
They will love you more
And who doesn’t want that? Unless they’re 9 year old girls. In that case all hope is lost. But that’s another blog post all together. When you’re a better Dad they feel more connected to you. Dads get to spend such a small amount of time with their kids it’s important to maximize that time.
Kids are people too
No really, they are. So talk to them. When we communicate with each other we develop empathy. We practice better listening skills and that makes us all feel better. We see each other’s points of view, which makes handling problems a lot easier.
Kids want to be included
No one wants to feel included they want to ‘be included’. To actually be part of the team that comes up with the plan. That way we all feel a sense of ownership, like the work product was our idea. Because, well, it was.
Autonomous teams are more successful
When we all feel like we came up with the plan we all feel like we own the outcomes. Good or bad, it was our plan and it’s our responsibility. We work to keep it on track and we work to fix it when it’s broken. We also all celebrate success. Who doesn’t want that?
I’m not a perfect Dad and I’m not a perfect husband. I still lose my cool and get impatient from time to time. But when I fall off the wagon there’s a process in place to point out my mistakes and I can work to fix them. Without that process it would be one train wreck after another.
I bet you’re not a perfect parent either. I’d also bet you make a few mistakes at work. I bet your team wishes you handled certain situations a little different. My team conducts stand-ups so we can share what we worked on. We talk about priorities and what we will work on tomorrow. We conduct a weekly retro. The most important meeting of our week. We all attend this meeting because we know we’re not perfect and we likely never will be. But we want to work hard to get better each week.
If you change only one thing next week add a retro. It just might turn you into ‘Super Dad’ for a weekend or two. And let’s face it, who doesn’t want that?
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