I’ve been a father for almost 8 years, which is almost the exact same amount of time I’ve had a leadership role within the Church. With Father’s Day approaching, I’ve been thinking about being a father – how it is influencing my life and impacting my leadership.
Fatherhood has taught me a lot about leadership. Here are 3 key learnings:
Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
My most captivating moments as a parent seem to be when I’m making my kids laugh. I seem to grab their full attention and create a desire for even more connection in these moments. In order to make my kids laugh, I can’t take myself too seriously. I have to be willing to let them see this real side of me. These aren’t teaching or formative moments. But they seem to be relatable, trust-building, connected moments.
Similarly in leadership, don’t take your role or responsibility so seriously that you can’t crack a joke. People may be relying on you, on any given day, to provide the only comic relief they will encounter. Be a leader who loosens the tie and unbuttons the top button to provide a laugh. There are moments when the best offering of a leader is a good laugh.
Don’t Lead Everyone The Same Way
My kids are currently 3, 5 and 7 years old. They are at totally different phases of their development, even though they are only 4 years apart. They need unique encouragement, guidance, motivation and discipline based on their age and personality.
Similarly, if you lead a team, everyone on that team must be led uniquely. What motivates one person won’t motivate another. Constructive feedback looks different to different people. We must learn the ins and outs of our team and lead each person uniquely to maximize their impact and the collective impact. @@Leadership (like fatherhood) is more like directing an orchestra than an army.@@
Don’t Miss Moments
There are these moments I have as a father that are too often missed. Moments when growth happens right in front of my very eyes and I let the moment pass. Every time a former struggle is conquered, a new skill is learned, a new trait is formed, and so many more – there is a moment to step into and call out exactly what you just witnessed in your child. It’s a moment of tremendous encouragement, learning and development, and I don’t always show up for these.
Similarly, there are moments on our teams that we miss as leaders. We expect growth, so we often neglect to call it out when we see it. I believe we diminish the potential for future growth when we don’t take the time to step into the small moments of failure, struggle, growth and development.
Any fathers out there? What has being a father taught you about leadership?