Fast Friday: Words of Wisdom from Renato Discenza CEO of Invest Toronto

Posted April 16, 2010 in Latest News & Insights

For this week’s installment of our Fast Friday words of leadership advice, I dig back to May of 2008 and our inaugural PowerRoundtable panelist Renato Discenza.  Renato’s now CEO of Invest Toronto, but at that time was in between gigs and shared with us this jewel that went along the lines of…

“Treat your employees like you would want your kids to be treated”.

Now, depending on your parenting approach, we’re not talking about sending your team to the naughty step.  What Renato shared was the thought that, as (good) parents, we want what is best for our kids.  We want to see them succeed… to follow their passions… to do their best.

Great managers do the same for their teams.  They genuinely care and look to bring the best out of people.  They help each team member live up to their potential.  Sure, that may, from time to time mean setting boundaries or correcting errant behaviour, but what lives behind the constructive feedback is a true desire to help your employees succeed.

I’ve heard lots of our executive panelists describe management as being akin to parenting and there’s definitely truth to that analogy.  What’s your take?

Happy leading!

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  1. wow I am glad to be remembered. Just a clarification… When I said treat employees as you would want your kids treated BY HIS/HER EMPLOYEE. This is NOT the same as treating your employees as children. Whenever you make a decision about how to treat you employees think about how you would want your adult childrens’ employers to deal with them. Respect, honesty, empathy and fairness are what you want.

    Your employees are human beings and are fathers, mothers, sons, daughter, husband, wives, friends…. so one way or another we can all understand how we feel when those important to us are not treated respectufully as adults and professionals.

    • LeaderTalker says:

      Well clarified!! We have too many leaders treating employees like children. Look forward to welcoming you back to a future event where you can pass along more of your great insights. I’m sure our members would love to learn more about Invest Toronto. 🙂

  2. Gabriella O'Rourke says:

    I remember this session well! Renato – your thoughts are always well considered. In addition to respect, honesty, empathy and fairness – I hope my adult offspring’s employer leaves them room to make mistakes, even fail occasionally but all the while making sure they are learning and building resilience for the larger/riskier ventures they will meet later in their career. Allow a growing employee to learn by doing – with coaching support from close by – is the way to go and its what I try to do with people I have managed. Unfortunately it is all too often either “sink or swim” or “you’re not quite ready for that kind of advancement yet…” Imagine if we didn’t let kids ride a bike or put on a pair of skates til they’d proven absolutely they would never fall off! A big part of parenting (if we continue with that analogy) is knowing when to back off and let them do it their way.