I recently caught an episode of the ABC show "SuperNanny" - which was awesome because it's always comforting (in a guilty way) to see familys that are way more dysfunctional than mine.
Once I got done feeling good about myself, though, I started to realize that the advice Ms. SuperNanny was giving to the parents on this show could have very easily have been given to anybody managing people. Not to say that the people you manage are like children (although there may be times you feel that way), but a lot of what SuperNanny preaches is about being clear, calm, consistent, sympathetic/empathetic, predictable, honest, open and proactive. In fact, listed on her website are her Top Ten Rules (http://abc.go.com/primetime/supernanny/toptenrules.html), which are:
1 - Praise and Rewards
2 - Consistency
3 - Routine
4 - Boundaries
5 - Discipline
6 - Warnings
7 - Explanations
8 - Restraint
9 - Responsibility
10 - Relaxation
OK, so some of these have more obvious links to the business world than others. But don't write any off too quickly. Take "Routine" for example. How much chaos do you create for your team with last minute ad-hoc meetings out of the blue that nobody is prepared for? Do you keep your weekly update meetings with team members, or do you consistently cancel and reschedule because something 'more important' has come along? How do you think it makes your team members feel when they are always pre-empted because of something more important?
"Discipline" is kind of a taboo word in a white-collar setting. However, how much confusion do you create about the rules and boundaries of conduct when someone steps outside or beyond and is not corrected in a timely fashion? When people are consistently missing deadlines without repercussions, how does that reflect on your leadership and the respect you earn from your subordinates? When it comes time for an annual review, how can you knock someone for infractions or lapses that were not addressed at the time they happened?
So, whether you have kids or not, I'd recommend watching an episode or two and seeing if there isn't anything you can learn that could be adapted to your leadership style. If nothing else, you just might end up feeling better about yourself!