photo: Average Joe via Flickr

Any parent of a toddler knows that the smallest of setbacks can spark the biggest of outbursts (How dare you put jelly on that toast! Or, the nerve of you, asking your child to wear clothes!). But according to a recent article in Entrepeneur magazine, reacting the right way in these moments not only helps you set important limits for your kids; it also makes you a better leader in business.

“Don’t get me wrong — I’m certainly not suggesting employees should be managed as if they were children,” wrote guest writer Adrienne Cadena senior vice president of Havas Formula’s brand activation division, Havas Street. “I just realized that many of the strategies I use in dealing with these frustrating moments align with how I should act as a leader within my organization.”

Cadena has several strategies that she says have as much relevance in the workplace as they do in the playroom. Here are a few of them:

Have Patience
Dealing with toddlers takes a lot of patience. Want to see a two-year-old walk anywhere without stopping a few dozen times to explore every possible distraction? Good luck with that. But sometimes waiting for results at work can be just as hard, and so the same sort of patience applies to running a team. “After dealing with a toddler’s needs, now I realize e-mails don’t have to be answered within 15 minutes and a clever strategy supersedes quick wins,” she writes.

Don’t Be a Control Freak
Do you sometimes find yourself wanting to correct your tiny tot’s wardrobe choices? Now’s the time to let it go. “I learned early on in my career that you can’t take on everything yourself just to control every last detail,” she writes. “Similarly, if some days my daughter goes to preschool in a mismatched outfit with unruly hair, I’ve learned to take a deep breath and recognize that she’s actually gaining her own independence and sense of self.”

Celebrate Small Wins
Just as you’d probably celebrate small parent triumphs (like her putting herself to sleep at night instead of needing your rocking arms), so should you revel in small victories at work.

“It’s not just the big client wins or the culmination of a long project that warrants recognition. Sometimes it’s more important to give a team member a fist bump when they nailed leading their first client call or express public recognition to an employee who spoke up with an innovative solution to a budget obstacle,” she writes. “These little acknowledgments keep morale up and make people feel like they are winning every day.”

Has parenting a toddler helped you in other areas of your life? Tell us how in the comments below.