When things load up on you, stress can increase and we can find our communication styles slipping into a less-than-ideal territory. Especially with those we are around all of the time, it can be so easy to take them for granted or let our “worst sides” come out. That is why it is so important to be conscious when communicating to your household staff. They are the backbone of the house and really can make an environment run so much smoother – keeping an open flow of communication with your staff allows for a better working environment for them, and in turn, a better living environment for you.
Here are some of the main things to keep in mind when incorporating conscious communication into your routine with your staff.
Little things can add up - and it can be tempting to want to die on every hill - but realistically, you need to know what requests are realistic, or the most important to you, and which things can be compromised on. Something that can help you with digging into this with discernment is mindfulness - practice sitting with your thoughts when they come up. If something minor happens and you feel yourself getting worked up - try to take a beat and see if there is anything deeper surrounding this issue that is the real reason that needs to be addressed. Being mindful about why you are experiencing concern, frustration, or even just needing additional support, will help you communicate your needs more directly later on. Which brings us to…
Be Direct, but Compassionate
Here at VIP Nannies, we believe that “clear is kind”. Being super clear about your expectations, needs, and preferences is going to set both you and your household staff up for success. Though it can be tempting at times, being passive aggressive or unclear about what you truly want or need is not going to help any situation. Oftentimes, it even builds resentment and can make a mountain out of a molehill. More often than not, having simple conversations when potential conflict arises can alleviate any pressure that might have otherwise built. Being direct and clear about what you want is going to make your staff feel more confident in the work they are doing, and you are going to be more at ease that things are done the way you like them.
Replace Criticism with a Request
Although it is infrequent, we can occasionally have critiques of the people we work with – and household staff is no exception. You want to, again, be mindful and direct, but the next step you should implement is a tactical one. Replacing criticism with a request can help your staff feel supported and like they aren’t walking on eggshells. Creating a safe environment for them to do their best possible work is going to ultimately support you and make your life even easier. So, if something comes up that needs to be addressed, try asking for what you need, rather than focusing on what you didn’t receive. A bonus tip that goes along well with this one is to “catch them doing good”. It can be so easy to call out mistakes and focus on the things that are imperfect, but it’s also very important to name the things that are going smoothly. Give credit where it’s due, when you can.
Empathize and Connect
Your staff are your employees, but … they’re a little more than that. Not all employees are in their boss’s home, and so that means you will likely have a very different working relationship with your household staff than most employee-boss relationships. That also means that boundaries are going to look slightly different. You won’t be able to fully separate your personal and “work” lives from your household staff, because for them, they are mostly one and the same. In this way, it is really important to empathize and connect with your household staff. These people are sharing a space with you so much of time time, so really do your best to get to know them and empathize with them if they happen to make a mistake or do something you feel needs a larger conversation around it. That said, you can absolutely still set boundaries with your household staff – and you should! Just humanize them and remember they want what is best for you and your family.
Communication doesn’t have to mean conflict, and conflict doesn’t have to mean an intense need for repair. Having these tips in your back pocket for conscious communication with your household staff will help you create a friendly working environment, and - in turn - will help your staff to create a comfortable and amenable living environment for you.
At VIP Nannies, we pride ourselves on providing you with highly qualified and caring childcare and household staff to help you support a well-rounded family. Today’s busy life means that parents require extra assistance to support children and take care of them. With over a decade of experience vetting the best childcare providers for families throughout the US, VIP sets the bar high. We’re committed to finding you the best fit promptly and seamlessly. Contact us now for a nanny or house manager that matches your needs.