I had made up my mind that if it persisted, I would fire her and hire another. However, somewhere inside, I feared the possibility of hiring someone even worse. I mean, there were no guarantees, no way to know them until after they start working for you. So, you know, the devil you know is better than the angel you don’t.
What am I on about? My domestic help.
I had done all the right things, from before the recruitment process up until creating the right job description and aid for her. Why was she slacking so much still, being half as efficient as I expected her to be? And worse, I was comparing her to my previous help.
Thankfully, before I made the decision to fire her, I did a quick self-audit of my person and processes as a boss at home, and received sense. One of the biggest lessons from all my many investments in leadership is that when things are going awry, the first person to check is the leader. When a leader gets better, chances are that everyone and everything gets better (learned that from one of my leadership podcasts).
I consider my home a platform to practice my leadership skills, so I am very intentional about that.
The result of my self-audit was humbling. I was doing OK until it came to monitoring. I had delegated and then abdicated complete responsibility to someone who was not ready for it, and who was not mature enough to work well without supervision (like most people write on their CV).
Plus, in all fairness, since she resumed work at mines four months ago, I had been so slammed with life that I hadn’t even taken the time to properly train her like I trained the previous help, who, by the way, was older and more mature. I just handed her a list with instructions and threw her right into the middle of the sea to find her way to shore.
So for all her slacking—and though she deserves some of the blame—it was really my fault. I started to make amends immediately. They were sure to cost me more time on the short run, but if I handled it right, it would buy me more time on the long run.
I am a long run kinda chick, so I wore my big girl boss panties. I decided that I would put in the work and time it demanded to supervise and evaluate her work every single morning, evening, and as need be. Since I already had a list, I just needed to follow my own list.
Mondays, you are to clean the toilets and mop the stairs, among other chores. Monday morning, we both go over the list together. I read it out and make sure she gets it all.
When I go into the toilet at some point in the day, I take my time to supervise that work. If it isn’t done right, I call her back to do it and show her how to get it done. So some processes need to be worked on before the end of the day.
Monday night, we go to the list again. “Did you do XYZ?” If yes, fine. We go through those tasks to be sure they were done right. If no, and for no sensible reason, I make sure she does it before she sleeps. I am not being wicked, I am being a good leader.
Consistency is very important in leadership, and if people see your inconsistency, they will not take you and things you tell them to do seriously. In fact, you will be considered a weak leader, even if they do not say it that way. So I don’t have a problem with getting you to complete the work you were to do during the day and didn’t do at night after the kids have gone to bed, so long as it doesn’t put you at risk or in danger.
For example, if you were to do a task outside the home, I would not send you out late to do it, but I would be sure to mention your slack and my unhappiness about it and insist you do it the next day.
Things started to change after that. Knowing that there was someone on her tail, she started to carry out her tasks both in a timely and efficient manner. We are still in the first few days of doing that, so I am still very closely monitoring (and low-key griping about how much time this is taking me). The good thing is that this will not be the case for too long. After some time, I can ease up to doing this monitoring three times a week, then once a week, and maybe once a month. But I cannot afford to completely abdicate again.
My check-ins too will be random, so she is not exactly preparing for it, and if this process is done right, complete with rewards and penalties, things should be running as smoothly as I would want on the home front in a couple of months. And then I can ease up and invest my time in other things like my at-home business, my kids, or sleep without wondering if she actually cleaned under the bed Tuesday this week.
Ok, so now, your turn.
You are not just a stay-at-home parent, honey. You are a leader at home. You provide leadership for your kids, your husband (yes, because in some matters, you are boss and that is okay if you navigate it with wisdom), your domestic help and any other person that lives in your home.
The principle behind leading your domestic staff right also can apply to every other human relationship in your home. Again, wisdom.
And when it comes to your domestic help, hire right and be sure that before you fire, you have checked yourself to be sure that the fault is not really yours.
Cheers to rocking out that domestic kingdom like a boss, and with the right tools of leadership.
Let me know how this helps you. Email is [email protected]