Why Can’t They Just Behave Like Adults?

Leadership Not Babysitting

Have you ever referred to your job as “babysitting”? 
Sighed while lamenting about having to deal with an issue? 
Questioned why the people you lead “can’t just solve it like adults”?

I’ve learned:
Most adults suck at effectively navigating conflict and instinctively react either too passively or aggressively.
Most adults suck at achieving their goals without support.
Most adults suck at managing change, particularly their own behaviour change.
Most of us didn’t develop these skills in our homes, schools, or previous workplaces because they weren’t modelled or taught.  

So those colleagues who are struggling to get along? They’re being as adult as it comes. 
That senior associate who keeps missing deadlines? Full on adulting in effect.
The team members who are still doing the undesired behaviour despite that one “this behaviour needs to stop” conversation you had with them? Also adulting within the typical range.

What the people on your teams need isn’t babysitting, it’s leadership.

They need help learning how to have difficult discussions without giving in to keep the peace or exploding.
They need regular check-ins to help them stay accountable to their goals.
They need frequent supportive conversations where they feel safe discussing the barriers to change.

So don’t babysit. Lead. Offer the people on your teams the things they have not received in the past – the knowledge, support, and guidance that help develop skills and habits that create success. 

Image text: Leadership tip: If you’re lamenting about babysitting it’s time for leadership