Those of us of a certain age remember the concept called Management by Walking Around discussed in Peters and Waterman’s classic, In Search of Excellence. Well, I coined a new phrase today – I’ve decided to practice Management by Walking Away.
You see, I’ve realized that the teenaged members of my household do not take responsibility for their “stuff”. And furthermore, my badgering and constant reminders enable their incompetence.
Working at home means I’m available to deliver the forgotten gym shoes or musical instrument to school. To provide a ride when they miss the activity bus. To keep their schedules, and make sure they have a snack before the game. Problem is, they do not, cannot, seem to manage these things on their own.
I have a plaque in my home that reads, “Prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child.” I’m not the mom who orchestrates the path, for sure, but I’m definitely questioning how prepared my children need to be if they know mom is always there to keep them on the path in the first place.
Maybe it’s Mother’s Day blowback, or my having just passed on an opportunity I wasn’t entirely sure I didn’t want. Or perhaps just general fatigue. Whatever the catalyst, I’m completely, decidedly fed up. So I’m walking away.
This strategy is not without some risk. I expect a few failing grades, a few forgotten items, a few missed appointments. But I can no longer care more than my subordinates do about their own responsibilities.
Failure hurts. But it also teaches. Prepare, children, for the lesson.