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Nischala Murthy Kaushik

How to get what you want? - leadership lessons from kids

POSTED ON 14 Feb 2016
3 Min read

I was at a kids park a few days back. A bunch of kids playing and having fun under the vigil of parents / guardians. One particular kid who was about 2 years old caught my attention. You know those kids who have mischief written all over the face - he was clearly one of those. He played for a few minutes, had his share of fun and then decided that he wanted his mummy to carry him. The mom for some reason had decided that she will not carry the kid. So here's what happened..

Baby : "Mummy, please carry me.." in a reasonable tone 

Mummy: Ignores the request.. Continues talking with other people she knows..

Baby: Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah... Yelling and howling to create a scene "Carry me.. Carry me"

Mummy: Starts walking ahead .. Takes a few steps turns back and tells "Come to me and I'll carry you"

Baby: Completely ignores the mom and starts yelling even louder and rolling on the ground throwing a full blown tantrum (If you are a parent, you can identify with this I guess)

Mummy (More assertively).. "Come fast, I am going home".. Looks ahead and starts walking faster..

Baby (unsure of his next move).. Takes a few steps towards mummy.. yells more loudly

Mummy (Looks back, and is giving a victory smile) that he has started walking..

Can you guess what happened next? Is mummy the winner? Well.. This is what the baby did..

Baby took a few steps back to the original spot and pulled down his pants.. I kid you not! I was shocked.. Everyone present was totally amused and in splits of laughter. And the mummy ran as fast as she could towards her baby, dressed him up, carried him and ran home. And I'll bet you that the kid did give a victory smile to the world at large - One that I will never forget in my life... Honestly, I laughed as I witnessed this entire episode...

But the episode got me thinking.. In leadership many times the question which plagues you is "How to get what you want?" - especially when the others are not naturally inclined to give it to you... Well, I found some answers from the kid's behaviour...

1) Be clear on what you want - In the narrative above the kid was clear that he will not walk and that his mummy should carry him

2) First, ask politely. Put forth your request as clearly as you can

3) If it is not heeded, then ask with authority / power. Again, be clear on the ask

4) Last but not least, find creative ways to get them to do it. Be it by putting them in the spot, challenging them or ....whatever works between you and them... It is OK to pull down your pants I guess if it gets you want you want :)

That's my first leadership lesson of 2016..  All is fair in love and leadership as long as the job gets done..

So as a leader, what is your mantra on "How to get what you want?"..

This is the first post in my series #LeadershipLessonsFromKids in which I will share stories, experiences and insights from my personal interactions with kids which provide food for thought on leadership..

This article was originally published here

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Written by Nischala Murthy Kaushik

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