Mom’s Supervision Lessons

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When I first became a boss, my primary role model for good supervision was my mother. Here’s what I learned from being her son.

There is no misbehavior. There is only behavior. Mom spent a lot of time telling this to my teachers.

People do things for their own reasons. If they’re not doing what you want them to do, they have a good reason.

Clear expectations are mandatory. When mom told you what she wanted, she was specific. She also asked you to explain it back to her.

Without clear expectations, others will try to figure out what you want. You may not like some of what they come up with.

Without follow-up, expectations are just hope. You have to go and see what’s happening.

Without feedback, follow-up is just observation. If you want behavior to change, you have to provide some reasons.

Consequences are the result of behavior or performance. My mother refused to use the word “punishment.”

She thought that punishment was something one person did to another. What she did was “deliver consequences.”

If you deliver a positive consequence, like praise or recognition, because of a behavior you’re more likely to get it again. Praise what you want people to try or continue.

If you promise negative consequences for a behavior, you better make sure you deliver. Negative consequences are best delivered consistently.

Boss’s Bottom Line

Good supervision is really pretty simple. It’s a lot like being a parent. Just remember that it’s something you need to work at every day.

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