Today as I was getting ready for work I heard a loud crash and then a pitter-patter of tiny feet running. I come out just in time to see that Meera, my 1.5 yrs old, had dropped my laptop and was now running away from “scene of the crime”. My fully decked out MacBook Pro way lying on the floor and my child was running away trying to distance her from the “mistake” to avoid the scolding.
I took her in my arms and told her, “You never need to run away and hide from your mistakes especially when it comes to me and her mother. This was in the first place my fault that I left the laptop within your reach. You did what a child does, so it’s not really a mistake. Even more important than that you should know that you will make a lot of mistakes. You can always come to me and tell me that you made a mistake. I will in most cases not be angry at you. But I never want you to be afraid of me. Love and fear cannot co-exist and I only always want you to love me. There is nothing in this world that cannot be fixed as long as you come clean to me and I listen to you patiently”.
I don’t know how much she understood for she is only 18 months old :) but I still make it a point to say these things explicitly to her but then I realized this is exactly how I deal with my team at work as well and how I would expect them to behave.
I lead a team made of fabulous technology people. Even then no matter how hard we try mistakes are made, bugs go into production and deployments are delayed. It will always happen. I just expect two things from my teammates - We don’t repeat mistakes and they come to me the moment they realize something is amiss. Never wait for me to find out from outside out of the fear of repercussions. As a leader, it would be the worst-case for me if my team hides bad news from me. Bad news is inevitable. It should travel fast. As a leader of my team and my daughter, it’s my responsibility to make sure that I do not discourage this speedy delivery of bad news.
Photo by Ali Abdul Rahman on Unsplash
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I have helped many startups in building their products and I would be happy to have a chat with you about your idea. Catch me on twitter at @akhilrex