I recently read a quote that made me smile. It said, “Everything I learned about parenting is leadership and everything I learned about leadership is wrong.” – Bob Chapman
It made me smile because in so many ways it’s true!
Though I won’t debate the merits between taking a leadership course or a parenting class to become a stronger leader, let me share five things I’ve been taught about being a good parent that is applicable to great leadership. And these ideas you won’t hear often in most leadership courses…
#1 Be An Example
For better or for worse, children mirror the example set by their parents. At work, employees mirror the actions and behaviors of their leaders. If we want our team members to behave and act in a certain way, we must lead by example.
#2 Say You’re Sorry
I’ve been told it is important to tell your children your sorry. It teaches them honesty and responsibility. Likewise good leaders apologize to their teams when they mess up. They understand that vulnerability and taking ownership for mistakes builds trust and cohesion among the group.
#3 Spend Time With Them
Children are nurtured by the attention and time they have with their parents. Employees are nurtured and grow by the time they are able to spend with their boss. Setting aside time for regular one-on-one meetings, getting out from behind your desk and making rounds to get to know your team better, and striving to be fully present whenever you are with them will make you a more influential leader.
#4 Have Fun Together and Establish Traditions
Parents learn it is important to have fun together as a family and establish family traditions. The same can be said about those you lead. Though we often don’t think of leadership in these terms, having some down time with those you lead and celebrating together can deepen your relationship. Likewise establishing traditions at work can help you reinforce what matters most to the organization and create a unique culture that people want to be a part of.
#5 Love Your Children
Good parents love their children. Though love and business aren’t things talked about together often, the truth is the leader who loves their people will have the biggest impact on those they lead.
There are certainly plenty of things to learn from parenthood about being a good leader. To become a stronger leader at work be an example, say you’re sorry, spend time with those you lead, have fun and establish traditions at work and learn to love those you lead.