Do you ever notice that sometimes your employees behave like children? Have you ever taken the time to get to know your employees? Which ones are first born, middle children, and babies of the family? Was our employee raised by two parents, one parent, or grandparents? Research has shown that we do bring our family life to work with us. The roles we had in our family when growing up follow us to our jobs. Yes, even you as the boss bring your childhood family role to the workplace.
Five Common Family Roles that Come to Work:
1. Leader. The leader may often be the first born in a family. He or she may be a bit bossy and intimidating. Do not allow bullying. He or she will often take charge and want to do things his or her own way. As an employer you must have systems in place so that he or she knows how you want certain jobs performed. You will want to be clear on when or where the employee can add his or her own creativity. You will also want to have clear boundaries established on his or her level of authority over other employees so that things to not get out of hand. The leader can be a great asset to your team.
2. Clown. The clown will liven up your workplace. But, if your business environment does not promote or allow for the clown personality you will need to address this immediately. The clown may appear to be immature and childish. He or she may be insecure and rely upon “clowning” around to ease his or insecurity and the fact he or she may not understand what is required to do the job. The clown may be attention seeking. This could be carried over from childhood where he or she had to perform as a clown to get attention from his or her parents, teachers or siblings. As the employer you will want to establish boundaries so the clown understands what is allowed and what is not. You do not want the clowns’ actions to be misunderstood as hazing or bullying.
3. Scapegoat. Every family has a scapegoat. The scapegoat gets blamed for everything that goes wrong. The scapegoat may even take the blame for other employees’ mistakes. This may be a learned behavior carried over from childhood where he or she had to protect a family or friend from being picked on or punished. As the employer or business owner make sure you know who is really at fault. Do not just to conclusions that it is really the scapegoat at fault.
4. Victim. The victim is different from the scapegoat. He or she often feels inferior. The victim falls into this role when he or she does not want to do something. He or she is often in crisis and complains. The victim knows his or her job but uses this for attention seeking and avoidance of responsibility. Victims can consume your energy and zap the energy of your employees. As the business owner you will want to ensure you understand who is playing the victim and you do not allow it to continue. This will require that you address the employees underlying feelings of inadequacy. You will need to bolster this persons self esteem.
5. People Pleaser. Oh, the people pleaser says “yes” to everything. Even when he or she should say “no”. The people pleaser will often over commit to tasks that may not be easily accomplished by the employees. This can lead to employee dissatisfaction and customer dissatisfaction. The employees are upset due to the added stress. The customer is dissatisfied if the product is delivered late or less than perfect. Employers need to establish firm boundaries on what employees can commit to on behalf of the business. If the boss is the people pleaser, he or she must review what the employees can do within their scope of expertise and commitments already booked.
As the employer or business owner you will have greater productivity in the workplace and you will be able to maximize your employees work performance when you take time to find out the role they had in his or her family as a child. You will also grow your business when you understand the role you had growing up in your family that you are bringing to work. When you learn the family role your employees bring to work the sooner you will be able to capitalize on this information and grow your business.