I've been lucky in my career at times. I've had some good people around me who have been generous and truthful with their advice. Some good, some bad, always thought provoking though.
Some of that advice has been reinforced to be recently. The last 5 weeks or so, I have been helping out around the house, trying to stay out of the way of my lovely wife and our new baby. Wrangling the elder two kids away, and doing jobs around the house that, well, let's face it, I'm not well renowned for doing. I got to spend some precious time with the elder two children and was lucky enough to be able to view these two in a different light. I was able to watch them in their own element, without Mum and Dad, watch with own personalities shine on their own. And then of course be the white knight on the white horse, piking them up from school and Kinder. (That was my favourite job, closely follewed by dropping them off)
The advice that came to mind over these weeks, was the importance of follow up, ie holding people (and yourself) accountable. My kids are stars at this. (and I have to say it got more paletable when I started viewing it as follow up and not just nagging)
If you say something do it! If someone else says something, expect them to do it, but be prepared to ask the questions and ensure it gets done. In my early days I would just expect things to get done and would be disappointed when they weren't. I hadn't chased them up, because, well, they were grown ups, professionals, and they'd committed to doing it. It actually became an issue for me with my managers at times. I was actually stunned that I had to do this, thought I'd be seen as a nag, untrusting and just a general pain in the bum. But you know what... it got results. I stopped being afraid of asking the questions, and started to explain my expectations more and voice my disappointments if not met, or updated. It really helped. This helped not only in managing a team, but managing up, internally and externally, and with candidates and employees. If you're job hunting don't be afraid to call the recruiter, hiring manager or whoever owns the process if they aren't living up to their part of the bargain, they've committed to it, why not hold them to the expectations. It shows strength, interest (and gives a little guilt too)
My son reignighted this ideal within me recently. The football fixture came out and he was super excited, he studied as only a almost 6 year old can, and then proceeded to try to corner me at bed time to talk about what games we were going to go to this year. I explained to him that whilst it was great that he was excited, this was not the time to go into this. And promised we would sit down the following day and go through it. Low and behold the first thing he said to me when he woke up the next day was "Dad, can we discuss this now?" Well, that also wasn't the time, I had meetings to go to an errands to run, which I had to explain to a disappointed little boy. Now, as soon as I got back in the door, many hours later, there was no "Hi Dad", just the question "Can we discuss it NOW please Daddy?" Now how could I resist that? I had promised after all, but if not for the follow up, it may have slipped down a priority list as we were always going to go to some games. I am so gla he did follow me up, we got a win/win out of it. He got to get involved in some decision making and got SUPER excited at the outcome, and well, I got to watch that.