“Trust is earned in the smallest of moments. It is earned not through heroic deeds, or even highly visible actions, but through paying attention, listening, and gestures of genuine care and connection. ~ Brené Brown
As Father’s Day arrives, I ponder the ways in which my many roles collide and compare to each other. Being a leader and coaching others in their leadership roles while also being a parent and father to my two boys means that a lot of my work overlaps. Much of what I have learned about being a leader has come from being and learning to be a father and vice versa. I picture a three circle Venn diagram when recognizing the relation between these three roles. Leadership, Parenting, and Fatherhood.
The key to good leadership is knowing yourself while also acknowledging that those you serve come first. Knowing ourselves as leaders in our organizations will help us to be present in our roles. When we know ourselves, we know our most effective, authentic communication and other strategies have the ability to make us great leaders. People that we serve will notice our self-awareness, because it allows us to be present in our role. When people see that we are physically present and our heart is also in the organization, they will have motivation to work for us and the mission that we all believe in. If we are leaders that people feel like they can believe in they will also follow us and work more collaboratively.
Good parenting stems from the genuine desire to nurture and prepare our children. By teaching and being a solid example to them, as parents we know they will go out into the world as kind, smart and relevant contributors. Nurturing is an important style of preparation that we provide to our children. It won’t always teach what is wrong and what is right. The most impactful way to teach our children is being an example that reflects our teachings and values. Talking with them and being present is critical but as I’ve said many times, they may not be listening to you, but they are always watching you. I often ask myself, “Where did they learn that?” and sometimes I smile and other times I frown. Being a parent is not easy. However, the work to be half the person we hope our children will become is very rewarding. They see us working and they know we are striving to develop along the way as well.
“Every father should remember one day his son will follow his example, not his advice.”
~ Charles Kettering
Being a father has been a wonderful adventure. I’ve learned to be present, patient, and to be an example. Being present is so much more than just being there physically. That’s the easy part. To be truly present, we must be there, listening and observing, with intention and showing up authentically. When you show up for your children and they see the person that you are, they will soon copy your example. So, how are you showing up to your children?
Leadership and fatherhood have many similarities. When we are our best selves and believe the words, we communicate to the people around us, they will see us as not only as someone who walks their talk but also is someone who leads by example. It is easy to lose ourselves in the obligations of every role and the person that we think we need to change into to fulfill those obligations, titles or the what and how. Refer back to the Venn diagram and find the similarities of each role in the between space. Use the required skills you have already cultivated and incorporate them in other parts of your life. I am sure you are already doing it! Labeling these skills can help us be more intentional in our actions and decisions.
The commonality of leadership, parenting and fatherhood starts with our WHY. We must know and understand why we are here, why being an example is important and why follow through is so critical.
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1 thought on “Leader, Parent, & Father By Example”
Becoming a father has led me to the biggest psychological and emotional change in my life. The journey was not easy, fighting instincts and behaviors that when unchecked for years. Being a father forced me to reconsider my whole ” way of life” and how I reacted to it, some big changes but a lot of little ones that made me wiser. I am still working on it-and along the way failing too- as the kids grow and plates shift needing life approach adjustments.