You might think cats are independent and aloof. Not mine. I have velcro cats. They love me. They love my husband. They always want to hang out with us. I can’t go to the bathroom without someone coming to see what the heck I’m doing.

“You might be having some fun, mom. I want in.”

Sometimes I feel like I am a bad cat mom — especially when I’m on the internet — and I look over and see Emma making her own fun without me.

“I know Mom can’t play with me because she is too busy on Facebook complaining about SHRM. I’ll just attack the heck out of this cat triangle until she notices.”

Poonchy Emma

(Yikes, Emma, I’m sorry. I am reading about Solange!)

But I am relieved that Emma is killing the cat scratcher because I believe in unstructured playtime for children, adults, and even animals. You don’t need to mandate that 20% of your employee’s time go towards a creative project; however, just as you give a kid a box of Legos and she begins to dream, you can offer privacy and space to adults who will use that time to solve problems in new and creative ways.

Velcro leadership is toxic. When you velcro yourself to your children and employees — and offer big management tips, big motivational speeches, and big team building activities with cheesy HR consultants — you create small, needy and disempowered workers who can’t make a move without you.

My cats (and your children and employees) need to know that they are fully validated beings who exist with or without your approval. They just need some space and encouragement to play, have a little fun, and discover who they are without the presence of a (corporate) nanny.

A little separation goes a long way. I have learned that Emma just likes to attack the hell out of her triangle for no apparent reason. When given his choice of activities, Scrubby likes to watch birds. Molly runs through the house chasing shadows. And Jake has a “rattle mouse” that makes noise when he bats it around the kitchen.

(Maybe, at some point, one of them will actually kill a willy bug around here.)

Anyway, I dream of a confident and independent kitty workforce. You should dream big dreams for yours!