Yesterday morning, Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour broadcast an interesting piece on the issue of when is it OK to leave your children alone at home. You can hear it here towards the beginning of the broadcast with Sarah Crown (Mumsnet Editor) & John Cameron (Head of Childline from the NSPCC).
It’s a topic my wife & I are still discussing and trying to find our way through as our children move into their teens. That’s probably as it should be. Interestingly, the law is not and probably would not be of use in helping us make our own judgements about when to leave our children at home alone. Instead, key to sound judgements in this context is what I would call a principles based approach to each individual and each situation. As a parent, I think there’s something reassuring in knowing that.
The Leadership Context
Parking any parent-child analogy, it also strikes me that there are principles here that we can apply in the workplace, especially when we are looking at developing leaders & managers in the organisation. The shared theme I would say is one of nurtured development.
Fundamentally this seems to come down to 12 questions that I think we should consider carefully…
- Are they able to cope with the responsibility and situation?
- Are they happy with the responsibility and situation?
- Are we supporting well their health & development?
- Are we looking out for both their emotional & physical needs?
- Are we clear on their own want or need for independence?
- Are we allowing them to become independent?
- Are we allowing them to experiment?
- Have we provided enough guidance?
- Have we provided the support systems that could be needed?
- Do they know who to go to if they are worried?
- Who else (peers/elders/mentors) can provide physical/emotional support in our absence?
- For ourselves as leaders, have we found the support & advice to prevent poor judgements and also to help us reflect on our actions and thinking should things go wrong?
The overriding principle to such nurtured development being the belief that:
We must expose our people to risk to help their development but it’s our responsibility to ensure they do not cause or come to any harm.
What do you think? Thoughts welcome in the comments section below or on twitter.