“It’s not what you say but how you say it” as cliché as this may sound there’s a lot of truth to this saying. We must also consider other factors like our body language when communicating with employers. Occasionally very minor situations lead to major problems because of the way they are communicated by some nannies and also some employers. We all should endeavor to communicate in ways that are non-threatening and non-demanding. The fact that you are a nanny employer automatically gives you the right to request that certain tasks are done by your nanny but to ask them in a very demanding way is most times counterproductive. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase that “you can catch more bees with honey than vinegar” which simply suggests that in the process of delegating tasks be mindful to be polite and kind. Saying thankful and please does not mean that you are no longer the “boss” in fact it reflects an individual who’s courteous and your nanny maybe more inclined to go an extra mile because of that fact.
Nannies, many of you are working with first time parents and while you may have years of experience in childcare, remember that you do not know it all. Take time out to listen to the new parents’ concerns and perspectives and allow some space to consider another person’s perspectives. Listening and learning from others does not make you a less effective nanny on the contrary listening is a sign of respect. These are fundamental life principles we teach to young children every day while working as nannies.
Additionally culture plays a huge role is how we communicate therefore nannies some of you must pay close attention to your tone of voice when speaking with employers. You should also avoid the pitfall of comparing one family to another to bring your point across when trying to arriving at a solution to a problem on the job. Realize that every family operates differently and while your past experiences may serve as a guide on your new job, to constantly reference how your “old employer” resolved problems while refusing to consider the ideas/suggestions of your present employer is certainly not fair.
Lastly employers when you leave sticky notes with phrases such as “we need you to work tonight”: “we need you to stay late Friday?”: “pickup groceries from the supermarket for the week” – all these sound very demanding and although your intentions may not have been “bad” when writing them, it could be perceived differently by the person who’s reading it. A simple thank you or please goes a long way- never forget that!
Let’s all make a concerted effort in being mindful about how we communicate every day.