This post is a little off track from my usual QA posts but I thought was interesting to think of how you can actually bring your work home, but in a good way!  We should be every bit as careful in dealing with our family as we are with our work colleagues and too often, we ask them to take a back seat.   Team building skills are every bit as relevant at home as they are in the office.

I have a wonderful co-worker and friend who I think is great because she always challenges me to consider new ways of looking at things.   Every chat we have leaves me richer in ideas and motivation.  She came to my rescue today after I was feeling down and discouraged with my parenting skills with teenagers.   As we are both professionals, it was only natural to put this in business terms.   “Have you told them what your requirements are?” she asked, “if this was work, you would define your expectations for them and find out what are their expectations of you”.

I had not considered it this way!  Why wouldn’t I consider them to be my team, the same way I view my co-workers?   While I had told them from time to time what I expected from them, it was pretty hit and miss (and to be honest, mostly after they missed picking up after themselves!).  Sometimes parenting is very much “by the seat of your pants” as you are always on the job but maybe it needs a more formal approach.

So how do I define my expectations?  Previously I would get caught up in the details – how many chores, how much homework.  But do I really want to define it along those terms or should I go for the bigger picture.  What what did it all really mean?  What was the philosophy behind the chores and the homework that I wanted them to learn?

So this is my list for my team:

1. Take responsibility to carry your fair share

2. Learn something new every week

3. Don’t be afraid of your mistakes, be afraid of not making any because this means you playing it too safe and are unwilling to take a risk.  Better to have tried and failed than to have never tried.

4. Find something to be passionate about, be engaged what you are doing.  Have an opinion!

5. Recognize your potential and find challenges to help you to reach it

6. Be self-aware of how you impact others and how you react to them

7. Realize how resourceful you can be, don’t be afraid to ask for help but demonstrate first that you made an effort

8. Take ownership of your happiness and your needs, be vocal about them.  Don’t expect people to read your mind or blame them for not knowing you better.  It is up to you to make yourself known.

9.  Learn how to manage conflict but be prepared, it’s a life long process!  Take a stand but be prepared to compromise where you can.

10. Set standards for yourself and your behaviour that are constant regardless of who you are with or what is done to you.

Now I wonder what they will come up with for my list of requirements!

What do they consider their needs to be?   Just because I gave birth to them, did not necessarily mean that I still always knew what was best for them.  I just assumed that I was meeting their needs but this was a big assumption on my part.  If I expected them to start being adults, I also had to grow up and release my authority as their expert.

The same thing applies to your work team.  You might have foster and implemented a project from Day 1.  Just because it was your creation, once you build your team to support it, you can’t always be the authority.  You have to be open to the fact that they might have become experts as well and might have even exceeded your knowledge!