Almost ever day I wake up and take the time to read the comics online. One of my favorite strips is Calvin and Hobbes. It is probably because I can relate to the rebellious personality of Calvin and his vivid imagination.

One of the characters in the comic strip is Rosalyn. She is sometimes referred to as Roz and is Calvin’s babysitter. She is a senior in high school, and Calvin thinks she is just evil. One of the reasons why Calvin has a problem with Rosalyn is that she always sends him to bed by 6:30. One of the last strips that I read with Roz, Calvin enjoyed his time with her because she agreed to play “Calvinball” with him and Hobbes.

I started to think about the job of being a babysitter and how it pertained to leadership. I would like first to share how a babysitter can be a leader. However, I will finish up this blog by sharing my thoughts on a leader being a babysitter.

Responsible – Being reliable and a responsible babysitter is a necessity that is not negotiable. Parents want someone whom they can depend on, someone they can trust, and someone who is capable of responsibly caring for the most valuable thing that a parent has.

Trustworthy – Being trustworthy goes right along with the responsible trait. As a great babysitter, you are required to follow the rules of the household, to keep the children safe, and to pay attention to their kids. Parents don’t want a babysitter taking their eyes off of the prize and texting friends or inviting their boyfriend over to the house. Babysitting is a job and must be taken seriously.

One last trait that I will mention is Patience – Patience is a virtue, and an important one when it comes to babysitting. Babysitters need to exercise patience when it comes to children. After all, babysitters are working with little people that think the world revolves around them. This can get quite annoying after a long evening.

Ok, now that I have shared a few traits, even though there are a lot more that I could mention, I want to get to my other point. Leadership is not babysitting.

When it comes to being a great leader, you need to understand that just keeping your team out of trouble and making them follow the rules is not your primary responsibility. A team needs to be led. They need to be invested in, cared for, encouraged and most of all assisted to improve.

I have personally witnessed where leaders assume that their only job is to stay out of the way and keep the team out of trouble. This is not leadership; this is babysitting. If you were to ask a middle age child how their babysitter helped them to be better at being a child, it is possible that the child would look at you like you were crazy. If you were to ask a team member how their leader had helped them to be a better person, team member, or employee that person should be able to give you an answer. If they look at you like the child talking about their babysitter, or if their answer was “they just kept me from burning down the house,” there might be a leadership problem.

This week’s experiment; Are you a leader, or are you a babysitter? Have someone ask members of your team the important question, “How has ____________ helped you to be a better team member?”

If the answer is not correct, send them to bed. It is past curfew.