Do you want to be a good parent? Most of us do. But do you compromise being your best?
Most of us looked up to a parent. Many of us in our 30’s or older are parents ourselves.
Becoming a parent is life changing; if you’re anything like me, you likely experienced an epiphany of life. My entire way of thinking and decision making transitioned…from selfish to selfless. From your first moment as a parent, you take on new roles and responsibilities and must become an active leader in your home!
Over time, we develop life skills, which I like to refer to as soft skills. Soft skills are transferable traits that are effective in most person-to-person interactions. These traits, when mastered, can be seen in some of life’s greatest leaders.
Let’s start by asking ourselves a few questions.
As a parent, are you a leader in your home?
- How do you set examples?
- How to you encourage good performance?
- How do you communicate with others?
- How do you manage the priorities and schedules of multiple people?
- How do you manage pressure and conflict?
By asking yourself these questions and reflecting, you should recognize personal strengths, weaknesses, and areas for self-improvement.
Now ask yourself, how does this translate into my professional life?
Most of us can apply lessons from home to work and vice versa.
Let’s look at how you can apply these five parenting traits to become a better leader.
1. You are an authentic role model
Control what you can. Your attitude is your trademark! So have a good attitude; be honest, reliable, and approachable. You keep cool during stressful moments and show emotional control.
Be empathetic and understanding. They take into account group dynamics, but remain attentive to each member’s personality style and priorities.
Mirror expected behavior. You model good behavior and communication. When we act with integrity and model good behaviors, we can expect the same.
2. You over communicate. A closed mouth doesn’t get fed, and an unheard question doesn’t get answered. A good parent communicates clear expectations and desired outcomes. They encourage dialogue, and then provide direction and honest feedback early and often. They have a genuine interest in helping.
- Communication research by Dr. Albert Mehrabian reports that 80 percent or more of a message is interpreted by non-verbal cues (like tone of voice and gestures) and not the actual message, so be very aware of your delivery
- Ask good questions and listen before you talk.
- Have an ongoing two-way conversation. Make others feel safe enough to admit weakness and vulnerability around you, because you make them feel comfortable.
- Just as much as they give feedback, their discussions remain centered around the thoughts, feelings, and actions of the other person
3. You are a teacher. A good parent is constructive and supportive. Don’t be a nag or a Debbie downer; people will avoid engaging with you.
- They do more than share information, they recognize achievements, ask for opinions, and encourage new ways of thinking.
- They seize teachable moments, using real-time examples to examine cause and effect (If this… then that) lessons. A good teacher doesn’t make students memorize facts; they help them understand “why,” and experience “how” to solve a problem.
- They introduce best practices and emerge you in practical experiences that prepare you to make good decisions and solve problems.
- Share their experiences to teach others and build rapport. Knowledge is intellectual wealth, best taught through experiences. They challenge you to get outside your comfort zone and introduce new ways of thinking.
4. You are passionate. A good parent is committed 110 percent, and they do not consider failure as an option.
- They are selfless, humble, and hard working…willing to do whatever it takes to provide the best for their family.
- They care about your best interest, showing support and demonstrating value-based leadership.
- Engaged constantly (with family or colleagues and leadership)
- They want everyone to be at their best
5. You are proactive and decisive – a good parent is prepared, organized, and aware of priorities.
- They have a routine and leverage their resources, which makes them effective and efficient.
- They solve problems. They have done their research and are prepared with options and examples to support their opinions.
- They schedule, prioritize, and multi-task constantly
Much like the good teacher, the decisive leader has mastered decision making. They are able to assess a situation, analyze the facts/data, pool resources for support and respond appropriately.
In the real world, answers are not always as simple as right or wrong, black or white. Life requires creative problem solving that achieves the desired outcome while including others in the decision making process. Sound judgment mixed with effective persuasion techniques can help you influence people and achieve more desired outcomes. Always remember different strokes for different folks.
Master these five parenting skills and you can upgrade your professional skill set. These skills are transferable and can be applied to improve the quality of your personal and professional relationships.
Greatness can be seen in the mastery of routine tasks. Although no single skill will make a great leader, master communication skills (easier said than done), and you will find yourself winning friends and influencing people like never before.
We can all benefit from a little focus, and self-improvement. Just remember, don’t discipline your colleague the same way you might your child…and save yourself a trip to HR.
As a parent of one, I would love feedback from the parents of multiple children. What did I miss? Do you disagree? How has being a parent made you better personally or professionally?