Friday, October 28, 2011

Experiences in babysitting - taking on a new leadership position

Not my brother, but my brother's son, Thomas.
Looks & acts so much like his father, it's scary.
My most vivid memory of being in a new leadership position was the first night I babysat my two much younger brothers without my older sister’s supervision.

With the established person in charge clearly absent, my youngest brother sensed my weakness in my new leadership position and suddenly refused to go to bed on time.  I was totally taken off guard, and to this day, regret my decision to drag him down the hall kicking and screaming to his room and barring his door closed.

Yeah buddy, I was “in charge” and made sure my brother knew it, but the experience was traumatic for me AND for my brother! 

The next time I babysat, I spent a little extra time before bedtime playing with my brothers, letting them choose the activity and control the play. The extra time I spent with them helped us build our relationship.  Letting them lead me in play gave my brothers a sense of autonomy and helped them learn to trust me. When bedtime came, relaxed and content, they snuggled up with me for their story time and easily drifted off to sleep.

I learned that forcing my way with my brothers, even though I WAS the designated leader, led to chaos, mutiny and conflict.

Reflecting on my experience, I now know, why when I am in a new leadership position, I take time to play and just be one of the gang. It builds relationships, establishes trust and creates willing  followers. 

Go Ahead - Google it!