How to Eat Your Peas: Maternity Leave and Great Management

As some of you readers may be aware, I have been on maternity leave for about six weeks now, and I’m learning a lot.  One of the things I’m learning is the parallel between parenting and great people management.

We’ve spent the last five weeks getting to know each other, and I’m realizing that, like many executive/ moms, I’m using what I’ve learned in business with my baby girl! We all know that leaders need followers, or they’re not really leading. So how do you get a 2 year old girl to follow you? Follow the first rule of great management – be a role model!  If you want someone to eat their peas, it may be important to demonstrate how delicious they are.

Have you ever managed someone who really needed you to show them how to behave?  Recently I worked with someone (we’ll call her Renee) who’s top performing employee was not behaving well in the proverbial sandbox. She was dominating conversations in team meetings, and being overly critical behind the back of one of the new operations people assigned to her division. Renee had to speak to her employee and not just tell, but SHOW her how to behave. She demonstrated how to give non-judgmental feedback to the new operations person, and talked to her about what top-tier behavior looks like. She asked her to watch her in the next meeting to see what appropriate engagement looked like, and was able to show what positive responses looked like in the meeting.  Not too different from what I’m experiencing on a daily basis right now.

So I may be at risk of comparing executives to two-year-olds, but hey, we all start out that way!


About karlinsloan

Karlin Sloan has committed herself to finding out what makes great leaders tick, and to supporting leaders to be the change they wish to see in the world. As a corporate citizen she is an advocate for triple-bottom-line reporting, for creating sustainable ways of working and living, and for creating positive organizational communities that work together for the greater good. She is the author of the acclaimed business book Smarter, Faster, Better; Strategies for Effective, Enduring, and Fulfilled Leadership which has been translated into Thai and Russian, UNFEAR: Facing Change in an Era of Uncertainty, and co-author of the 2012 book Lemonade: The Leaders Guide to Resilience at Work. For more information see or
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2 Responses to How to Eat Your Peas: Maternity Leave and Great Management

  1. Karlin says:

    Thanks so much Andrea! We just adopted her from Nepal and we’re all home adjusting. I will post some more about her – we are so so excited!! She is 2 and she’s so cute. -Karlin

  2. Andrea Cook says:

    Congrats Karlin!!! I didn’t know you had a baby girl!!! How cute! Happy for you. I’d love to hear more/baby photos perhaps?!
    Happy happy for you and Charles!

    – Andrea

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