From a reader a while back who took the time to send me a nice note waxing poetic regarding why we don't see the equivalent of Tiger Moms in the workplace:
"Why was there such an uproar about boundaries and parenting styles for kids, as if it’s BAD to be a Tiger Mom, when clearly it gets results? – Her daughter was just accepted to Harvard.
). I’m constantly telling my sister she’s not strict enough (and her kids will end up in a community college somewhere), because of course, I don’t have kids and it’s easy to be an armchair quarterback.
When I coach managers, most of the time I notice that they are more Panda Dad than Tiger Mom. In other words, they are way too soft in their 360s, in their expectations, and in their accountability. Maybe that’s because I work in Government, but that’s what I’m seeing. On the other hand, there are lots of managers that try to be a Tiger Boss and use Shame as a Stimulus, Isolation as Focus, and Public Insult as Feedback. So, while I think that kids need boundaries, and employees need tough goals, does anyone need abuse? That’s where the Tiger Mom thing goes awry, in my book. On the other hand, the Tiger Mom is nothing if not engaged, and I don’t see a lot of involved or engaged managers in my neck of the woods. How does that work? Does engagement = abuse and Panda Boss = softie? I agree – it’s tough to get your arms around."
Some great stuff in that note:
"Hey Sis, if you don't start doing more, your kids are going to have to go JUCO" (I know a lot of great folks who went to JUCO, but hey, she's trying to make a point..)
"Shame as Stimulus, Isolation as Focus, and Public Insult as Feedback".
So what about it - how do you be a "Tiger Mom" in the workplace, with your direct reports, without being that guy (or gal)? In the workplace, I think the key to being able to be hard on your people really comes down to one thing - your people have to have a sense that you (the manager in question), while being a b#tch to work for, ultimately have their best career interests in mind. If I know that you're hard on me, but when push comes to shove you are ready to promote my career and help me achieve a lot personally (even at the risk of losing me), I'm generally going to view you being a Tiger Boss with a different view than I would if I had the perception it was all about you.
Hard on me all the time + big promoter of my career = Tiger Boss getting away with a lot of abuse to his/her direct reports.
And remember, like Tiger Mom Boss once said: "No, you can't go to the prom movies, but you can drive by there on the way to Kaplan Learning Center Kinkos.
And I'm out...