We started potty training D2 over the holidays. I agonized about what method to use. Three-day bootcamp method? Gradual method? No method? Ultimately, our pediatrician gave us the best advice, wait until he is ready and you’ll know. You can’t force a child to potty train before he is ready. He’s now at the point where he can wear undies during the day and diapers at night. It’s been a remarkably smooth transition thus far but it got me thinking. There are a lot of leadership lessons you can glean from potty training your little one:
Accidents happen. Don’t make a deal about it, just move on. I’ve noticed that when D2 is really engrossed in a project, he’ll forget to go to the bathroom and will pee in his pants. He’ll quickly notice and say, “Pee pee on the floor! Uh, oh!” The reality is that as a leader, you too will have accidents and make mistakes. Learn the lesson and move on.
Celebrate small successes. The first time D2 peed in the potty, we celebrated. Stickers on the sticker chart and a big “Hoo Ray!” He loved it. As a leader you need to celebrate your team’s small successes as much as the big ones. In this day of budget cut backs and reduced opportunities for training, don’t underestimate the power of just saying “thank you” or publicly recognizing a job well done. It will go a long way towards building morale on your team.
Shit stinks. Clean it up. When D2 first pooped in his little potty, my face nearly melted off. It was so big and so… stinky. After the deed is done, D2 always announces, “Big Poo Poo, yay! Clean up time!” Truer words have never been spoken. As a leader when you find yourself in a mess, don’t let it sit there stinking up the room. Roll up yourselves and get to work. Clean up time!
Every day is a new day. What I love about D2 is that at two-years old, he doesn’t dwell on the mistakes of yesterday. Every day is a new day to be approached with wonder and excitement. So what if he pee peed in his pants yesterday? Today is a new day. As leaders we’d do well to remember this. How often do we beat ourselves up over what we coulda should’ve done? Approach every day with the excitement and wonder of a two-year old and see how that transforms your outlook.
What do you think? Have you learned anything from your child that you can apply at work?