An Entrepreneur Reflects on His Roles as Father and Founder
Being a dad and an employer both present unique challenges, but there are similarities in the roles. Challenges notwithstanding, both jobs can be very rewarding. I'm a father to a boy and three girls, ages 9 to 15, and a founder and chief executive of a 14-year-old webcasting company based in New York. For Father's Day this year, here's my take on the differences and similarities of the two roles.
1. I don't have to clean up after other people's lunches in the cafeteria at work.
2. I don't have to play chauffeur with employees.
3. I very rarely have to remind an employee to brush their teeth or wash their hands
4. I never tell employees to shut off the lights, lower the heat or close the refrigerator door.
5. My employees already know I don't work for the electric company.
6. I don't have to remind employees that money doesn't grow on trees.
7. I don't have to tell employees things a minimum of three times for things to get done.
8. Employees typically use their inside voices when inside.
9. Although on occasion I might want to, I can't fire my kids.
10. I will never retire from being a dad.
1. You need to listen.
2. You need to lead by example.
3. You need to be loyal.
4. You need to keep your promises.
5. You need to be forgiving.
6. You need to be self-aware.
7. You need to be flexible.
8. You need to be able to admit when you're wrong, and even apologize.
9. You always need to remember you have been in their shoes.
10. When out to dinner, you always have to pick up the check.
Fatherhood definitely has had a positive impact on my management style. I even print out "atta boy" emails we receive from customers and hang them on the company refrigerator. Smiley face or gold star optional.
Nick Balletta is chief executive of TalkPoint, a webcasting company based in New York. He founded its predecessor company NextVenue Inc. in 1998.