My summation of the bottom line of this article is:
Identifying goals and empowering, is more effective than micromanagement
It is hard to manage employees, and especially hard to manage kids. Employees at least have a tactical, measureable "reward": their salary. Kids, especially with their lack of skills and experience, don't usually have a tactical reward structure and it is muddied up with the parental bonding.
Actually, I see a lot of similarity between the two tasks if you consider a senior manager needing to manage a very junior employee. Kids are "rewarded" with various things: likely the most important being parental attention. It is interesting to examine behaviors and consider just how many of the "not the nicest" are performed simply to get attention.
The Wall Street Journal article is sort of another of the classic "how to manage kids". Lots of folk whine about managing kids and then, since the parent isn't really rewarded, the actions wander away from the "stated".
The issue addressed in this article is the classic:
time wasting on computers/web vs productive results
Yes, this article is focused on "kids" but the same problem occurs in businesses everyday: just how much time do your employees/do you, waste on the web with Facebook, Twitter, news feeds, etc?
The kids in this article are teens and do the typical:
So, what did they discuss doing?
Like most business teams, it spanned a range
When managing people, one of the hardest problem is fostering creativity while being productive.
As most managers know, having lots of grade C minions to shuffle around
Some of the discussed solutions included:
As they concluded:
"The key is not to lock them out
➤ having them learn to decide what's right and what's wrong is 10 times more important,"
=> grades decide the access issue.
The problem and the result seem to be very classic management:
Micromanagement/hands on management
The question they didn't address is the role of the managers/parents:
are they observers/rewarders, or
are they collaborators?
Looking at this from a Situational Management perspective
Tell, Sell, Collaborate, Delegate
I would suggest parents need to be in Q IV or edge of Q III:
usually delegate but available to collaborate.
For these quadrants, the key question/resource is "what is the reward structure to motivate?"
They seem to have nailed the "home work" but what about "room" and "chores"?