Lessons I Learned in Kindergarten that Apply to Business

Many life lessons were learned when we were in kindergarten. It was a very impressionable time for us, and to this day, I bet you still remember your teacher! Mine taught me many lessons, but the ones that rise to the top for me are:

 

– How to share
– Learning to be kind to others
– Cleaning up your own mess
– Don’t run with scissors.

 

I can relate to all these issues having started my career as a kindergarten teacher. Hopefully, many of my students still remember my name! As my career progressed and I transitioned into human resources, consulting and then starting my own business, I have continued to use many of the same lessons along the way.

 

Share – Sharing is one of those key elements that ensures your team meets with success. Do you pass on your knowledge and expertise to others? Do you share the credit with other team members when a job is well done? Are you open to collaborating? By involving others, people develop a deeper understanding and commitment regarding the issues and goals in front of us.

 

Be Kind To Others – Have you ever worked with a colleague or boss who was rude or mean-spirited? That kind of person sucks the life out of you and the team. Taking the time to be kind sounds trite but we naturally gravitate toward nice people. We want to work with and support them and at times, be more like them. They are good role models.

 

Clean Up Your Own Mess – Once you make a mistake — and, of course, we all make mistakes — we always feel badly about it. At the same time, once you own up to the problem and figure out a plan to fix it, you feel much better. The important lesson is to learn from these mistakes. I have found clients are more comfortable and respect you more if you admit to a problem, lay out a plan to resolve it and communicate honestly with them. Many times it can turn a bad situation into a positive one.

 

Don’t Run With Scissors – Running with scissors is a disaster waiting to happen. Undoubtedly, it will result in an accident or self-inflicted wound. When you are upset or feeling angry about a situation, it is important to appropriately vent without letting a shower of negativity impact everyone around you. In close quarters, an environment will become toxic if we are working with someone who always approaches issues negatively.

 

Never overlook the importance of how much we learn in our early years. Oh, I forgot one more lesson: say you are sorry when you hurt someone. Apologizing is completely underrated! It is the right thing to do and others perceive you as a sensitive colleague who can be trusted. The lessons we learned in kindergarten are the building blocks from which we can mature and grow throughout our lives. Kindergarten is clearly more sophisticated today than it was years ago but the ‘basics’ still remain. These lessons have the power to ensure we become productive and caring people, employees, family members, spouses, parents and friends.

Sally Stetson
Sally brings more than two decades of experience as an executive search consultant. She has worked across diverse industries including life sciences and pharmaceutical, healthcare systems, manufacturing, telecommunications, non-profit and professional services. The Philadelphia Business Journal named Sally as one of its "2006 Women of Distinction", and as one of SmartCEO Magazine's 2010 BRAVA! Women Business Achievement award winners.

2 Responses to 'Lessons I Learned in Kindergarten that Apply to Business'

  1. The simplicity of this commentary makes it relevant. I might add that approaching life with a sense of wonder enables lifelong learning…love that about kindergarten.

  2. Sometimes we make life and work too complicated – I hope it was a good reminder, Paulette!

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