Leadership through a Different Lense: As a Parent

Sep 20, 2021 | Blog

As a corporate leader, I’ve developed some strategies and perspectives to live by. We’re here to build our team, guide them to find their strength, and tap into what will bring them success. We invest in our people and show the way. And on many levels, I lead like that as a parent as well. I’ve been asked about some of my perspectives as a parent, and honestly, there are a lot of parallels. Parenting is just a different kind of leadership. Here is a glimpse into my approach.

It’s not about balance

I’ve said it before, there is no such thing as a work-life balance. We just don’t leave work at work and personal life at home anymore. The reality is more like work-life blended, and sometimes that doesn’t look like we’d expect.

Sometimes, when we are really invested and passionate, work is going to be the most important thing that takes all of our focus. Many times, we need to invest that focus because it enables us to meet our priorities. You work hard so that you CAN give your family a good life, so you can take that vacation, so you can retire well and send that energy back into the other parts of your life.

There is just no separating them anymore. So we have to be careful that we are putting things into practice where we are able to focus on home when we are at home. That means we will work a little harder, a little longer sometimes- so that when we take the time to be with our kids, we still have the energy to have quality time.

Quality will always trump quantity when it comes to spending time with your family. Laying on the couch on your phone because you left work early, and are now worried about what you left behind is not balanced. Dedicating ourselves to work also teaches our kids a lesson in patience and working hard to get what you want. We have the capability of being totally invested at work so that when we make family a priority, they get our undivided attention. Stop worrying about commitments and worry about the impact.

Parenting is just as much a leadership position as being a corporate leader.

With our kids, especially as they get older and more independent, it’s important to ask questions. We’re programmed to talk at people- preparing what we are going to say next instead of truly listening to their answers. But I prefer the saying,  be interested instead of interesting. Like I would encourage others to do in any leadership scenario, it’s our job to show the way. Help them understand and ask questions to dig deeper. Give them guard rails, but know that sometimes they are going to bump into them. Guide them through those mistakes, and help them understand why. We get the same positive results as we would when we empower those in our organization to do the same.

Leaders reward people for their courage, not their perfection

Parenting works in a similar vein. One idea that doesn’t work leads to improvement. Overall, it leads to a new perspective and a better outlook on the future.

Comparison culture causes mental health issues at work and at home. Instead of asking, Why can’t you be like your sibling? Encourage them to recognize their value. And encourage them to work on their mental well-being. Just as we encourage adults to do, encourage our kids as well. Tell them to: Sit with yourself. Workout. Sead, sleep… not because we say so, but because of what it builds over time.

Urging your kids to live their passion because then it doesn’t feel like work. It feels like you’re training and learning more about something you’re extremely interested in and invested in. You find inspiration, you find joy, you find your own way.

That’s ultimately what we want for all those we are leading; to be well, be successful, gain strength through the struggle, and get better every day so they can help others do the same and build something amazing.