Are we picking up everybody else's Monkeys?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


As I read and prepare for staff training meetings, I am often pleasantly surprised at how much I learn and grow as a business owner, and a mom.  The book in question this week is “The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey”.  This brilliant book from Kenneth Blanchard, William Oncken, Jr., and Hal Burrows is the bible of how to get the most out of people you manage, without falling into the trap of always picking up the pieces for them. Essentially taking over from them, what was theirs to begin with.  Somehow, once we become “the boss” we often become the fixers, because that is what got us to that position in the first place. The “Monkey” so to speak refers to the next move.  So what should have remained on their to do list, is now on yours, accompanying the dozens of your own already existing monkeys.  As a result, we are so busy fixing others peoples problems, we end up with no time to fix our own.  Sound familiar?

This is where it gets good.  Isn’t this precisely what we are doing to our children? Somehow all of their school projects, play dates, and problems become ours.  They can’t even pick out their own clothes or brush their own hair without us.  Why?  Because, we are there every step of the way to help them.  But are we really helping? Or are we just enabling them to rely on us for everything?  How bogged down does that make us?  After the kids are in bed, we take a deep breath and wonder what happened to our day?  Usually followed by more chores from that day and preparing for the following day.  When do we get to take a break and enjoy OUR life? How about we practice hands-off as much as possible, and hands-on as much as necessary?!  Of course that means relative to their abilities.  I don’t expect our 2 year olds to do the dishes.  The best way for us to develop responsibility in people is to give them responsibility.

I have two girls, 6 and 8, and every once in a while I take stock as to their roles and responsibilities in the household. I want to see if I’m giving them opportunity to grow and gain confidence, or am I still treating them like a four year old?  They can carry and unload their backpacks, put their clothes in the hamper, set the table, clear the table, take out our dog, Lily (Yes, my eight year old has been doing this for years!).  I encourage you to do the same.  Who do you Manage?  It could be at work or at home, let’s face it, it’s all the same.  My goal is to make sure no matter who I’m training, I’m giving them a chance to learn and grow.  Isn’t that what our parents did for us?


Christy Melgoza

Arthur Murray Dance Studio Owner,

Certified Adjudicator, and Mother of Two

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