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What Parenting Teaches You About Leadership

It's another episode of #TellItLikeItIsTuesday and on a topic I've been thinking quite a bit about as I explore some "unlikable" things about leadership I've encountered recently. As I'm going through this parenting journey there are some crazy moments where I want to pull out my hair, run, scream, hide, and then in almost the same breathe, I'm amazed at all it teaches me about life.

Here are 6 lessons I've learned from parenting that have helped shape my leadership style.

1.Get Them On Board

Get farther with a guiding coalition. Co-creation leads to a better program and better results. They have to "buy in" to what your selling to really engage for the best outcome. Changes need ownership and accountability in the creation to be successful.

Next time your team or kids for that matter, refuse to do something, ask THEM for a solution. One-way communication doesn't inspire or motivate. If they are offering up ideas, they become part of the process and are thus more likely to become engaged in the outcome.

2. You Eat Second

Parents go starving OFTEN. They've been darn near famished. While they were getting milk, cutting sandwiches into squares, picking up the spilt milk, their kids finished their meal and then moved on to the next activity. The same holds true and needs to be recognized with employees and team members. Think about them in a servant mindset. How could you better support them or communicate with them. When you "serve" your team, they will serve your purpose and mission tenfold.

3. Be Adaptable

Things change. Markets change. Technology changes. Kids have blowouts right before a big event, where there is no changing table and you have an unprepared stash of wipes. Sometimes what has "always worked" is no longer the best solution. Complacency can be a killer in a business. Don't be immobilized by solutions to past problems. Get creative with your problem-solving. New problems should lead to new solutions. Roll with it.

4. Fail Forward

Babies go from laying, to rolling, to crawling, to walking, to running. Among all of those phases are a lot of falls. It's in falling or "failing" if you will, that you learn the necessary steps to success. Sometimes we learn best by failing. We wouldn't except a baby to be able to get up and walk. So how often do we expect our teams to get it right on the first try? We easily become so focused on perfection that we limit innovation and ultimately growth. For example, Mark Twain said "Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.” What he's saying is think more about doing and less about failing and learn along the way.

Learn more about this mindset and methodology in the book called Fail Forward by John C Maxwell

5. Lead & Empower

Making decisions FOR someone never teaches them WHY you do something. We can provide support while allowing creativity. You as a manager can either dictate or create the opportunity for them to feel empowered. Relinquish some control. Remember perfection is unattainable and there is always room for new insight. People seek to FEEL whether anyone admits it or not. They want to FEEL successful, or empowered, understood, or acknowledged. Congratulate the little things. People need building blocks to feel successful. It is NOT an everybody gets a trophy situation but it IS acknowledging and appreciating. Acknowledge and thank them for extra tasks or fixing a problem with a difficult customers. Remember praise is given in more ways than 1. Think the 5 Love Languages . Everyone feels "valued" in different ways. Some may be through words of affirmation, others may be receiving gifts or a bonus. No matter what, everyone does their best work when they feel appreciated and empowered.

6. The Safe Space

For kids, there are places like a bounce houses and padded floors, places to let your kids be kids. You want them to "fall safely" if they do.

Google found a study after years of analysis on employees that the safer team members felt, the more likely they are to admit mistakes, back each other up and take on new roles. Parents hide knives, block sharp edges and keep cords out of reach.

In the same way, team leaders need to keep their teams safe by avoiding negative team feedback, sharp undercutting comments and lack of praise. Those can be the sharp knives for an office space. Create environments for your teams to grow and thrive without fear of negativity or repreman.

I will leave you with this. Good leaders are trailblazers, making a path for others to follow. Great leaders, however, inspire their people to reach higher, dream bigger, and achieve greater. Perhaps the most important leadership skill you can develop is the ability to provide inspiration to your team. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” - John Quincy Adams

#business #leadership

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