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Management Lessons I’ve Learned from My Teen-aged Son | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother

Management Lessons I’ve Learned from My Teen-aged Son

My son is more than the eternal optimist. He will look at a glass that’s 1/4 full and tell me, “It’s just enough, and we’ll  be fine.”

I think he came by it naturally. When he was three years old, speech therapists said it would take at least 5-6 years for him to work through intensive speech therapy to speak clearly. I worked with him, but he worked with me every single day, without complaint, on his assigned exercises and completed his therapy in 2 years instead.

I think that experience taught him that if we approach things with a positive attitude and chunk at our problems a single step at a time, we can master goals and make incredible things happen.

When he organizes something, he doesn’t deal in drama, gossip, or negativity. With his humor, he’s able to keep the group focused on having fun while they reach their goals.

Last summer, when he was assistant manager of a fair food booth during a week of record high heat and record low attendance with decreased sales, he gave a report on end of week sales, “We had a good week. We met our sales goals three of six days, and everyone did a great job.” Not only did he leave out what could have been a depressing report, but he left out his own efforts to make those goals, including volunteering over 60 hours in 6 days to boost those profits – or his carrying a tub full of water bottles to a hot auction so people could give donations to the water, hoping to increase their sales.

This summer, I’ve watched him begin to organize that food booth – last year’s Jr. Leaders elected him treasurer so he would manage it this year. I tried to offer suggestions to him to fill his volunteer spots. His answer?

“We’ll be just fine. I’ve got it handled.” The booth he manages is entirely run by teenagers, and they will succeed or fail on the merit of their own efforts.

I tried to offer him suggestions on how to schedule shift chairs. He stopped me, saying, “All of our shift chairs are awesome. They can handle anything.”

As I think about his comments, I see a lesson we could all learn: he believes in those shift chairs and the volunteers. They know it.

When managers believe in the skills of their team and begin with a positive attitude, they are more likely to inspire success.

Never underestimate the power of a positive attitude. If we see success in others, we’re more likely to help them see it in themselves and make it happen.

It’s amazing what a 17 year old can teach his mother.


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