Leadership Lessons I Learned from My Kids

I am reminded constantly of leadership principles from my interactions with my children.? Here are a few examples.

One day, my daughter arrived home from school and was telling me about her day.? Then she said, ?Mom, is it okay if I tell you something ? and you don?t give me and advice??? I was stopped in my tracks.? It reminded me of how important ?listening? is; just listening!? I teach this in my seminars, and the reminder from my daughter made the lesson that much more powerful.? As leaders (and parents) we jump in with advice, information or problem solving, when often what people want from us is just our ear, just to be there for them as a sounding board and a safe place to vent.

Another day, we were rushing around in the morning and my son was lagging behind.? ?We have to go ? come on? I said, as I rushed up the stairs to the bathroom for teeth brushing and hair combing.? I noticed there was no one behind me on the the stairs.? I turned, ?What?s up? Why aren?t you up here???I asked.? As my son looked up at me at the top of the stairs, he simply said ?Hey mom, your butt really jiggles when you run up the stairs!?? I was stunned, then I laughed.? That day, he reminded me to be careful not to assume the intentions of other.? He certainly had no bad intention in sharing this observation with me, he did not intend to upset me or insult me.? He was simply stating what he noticed.? At work we make all sorts of assumptions about the intentions of others; how often are we wrong or off track in those assumptions?? Often, I think!

The last story relates to my daughter.? As we were discussing her grades and other school related matters, she said ?Mom, how come when I bring a mark home you behave like it is your mark??? Again, I was silenced.? She reminded me here that I was owning what is rightfully hers; and when I thought my face was communicating one thing (concern for her doing well at school) it was really communicating something else (?I? have failed if you don?t do well in school).? Kids, and our staff members, want to learn their own lessons and own their own mistakes as well as their own successes.? When we start to own their experience, the experience is far less meaningful for them.

As is often the case, we can learn a lot from those we think we are teaching (and we need to follow those who we are leading)?So, remember to just listen, avoid assuming intentions, and let others own their own successes and failures.

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