I find myself in a position as I parent my youngest through the perils of life. A few weeks ago it was jut me an Autumn in the house for about ten days. We got along and kept the place mostly clean (until the other daughter arrived…. but that is a different story.) One day I asked Autumn to wash the dishes for us.
I thought this was a clear instruction.
I may have missed an opportunity to ask if she was cleared in the operation and safety requirements of the GE Dishwasher 9000? Or if she knew the difference is the uses of different cleaning solvents? Or if she had actually ever completed the task of doing a load of dishes on her own? Yep I may have missed a leadership moment!
So off she went to wash the dishes. I could hear the sounds of unloading and rinsing and loading the machine. I even heard a grumble or two but all in all she was going along nicely. After a longer than expected pause of silence the mating door closed and I could hear the starting sounds of our dishwasher. This was where I stopped listening from the office and returned intently to my work……. (not the best idea of the day :)
About 15 minutes later I wending to the kitchen to get a glass of water. Autumn was at the dining table engrossed in her laptop. I rounded the corner and was met by the biggest foam monster I think I have seen … like ever. And there it was covering her right shoe and all and she was oblivious. I really had to laugh a little but we stopped and cleaned up the mess together.
I asked her what had happened and she said "I used the bottle of soap labeled dishwashing liquid……."
Next time I may be a little more interactive in my leadership applications. But think about it, If I had just asked one question at the time of instruction. If I had stayed with her throughout the process. If I had been a little more diligent, we may have avoided the Attack of the Foam Monster. This seems to be a common problem in the business world with young and starting employees. We expect them to be up to speed and 100% on day one and actually they still don't know where the right soap is stored. Maybe we can learn to be a little more diligent with the new guys and then maybe we will set them up for success and a great future.