Four key similarities between being a parent and a leader
As I sit here admiring my 2 week old son sleeping, I can’t help but reflect on the similarities between being a parent and a leader.
Being a parent is undoubtedly the biggest privilege in life. However leadership is also a privilege, one that many leaders take for granted.
The purpose of this article is to share these similarities with you to provoke further thought and discussion around this topic.
This article should also help parents that want to become or are already leaders, and those that are leaders but want to become parents, find common ground.
Below are the four key similarities between being a parent and a leader;
1Communication: “communication must be HOT, that’s Honest, Open and Two-way.” Dan Oswald
Communication is the key to a great relationship with your partner, it becomes even more important when you have a child you must look after. The necessity to open up clear lines of communication between parents and their children becomes more important as they grow and mature.
The same is applicable to being a leader that is responsible for multiple individuals. You must communicate, communicate and communicate even more with your team. This will ensure transparency, leading to a more engaged and empowered workforce.
2Self-sacrifice: “real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.” Nelson Mandela
When you have a precious gift, it’s all about them, their needs, their feelings etc. Majority of parents no longer put themselves ahead of their children. It’s common to see parents spoiling their children, whilst putting themselves at the bottom of the priorities list.
As a leader you must cater and take into consideration the thoughts and feelings of all those in your team, putting them ahead of yourself at every decision. Some leaders tend to put themselves ahead of their team, which leads to a disengaged workforce and a team that will underachieve. This creates an individualistic based environment, where members of the team will follow their leader and put themselves ahead of their colleagues.
3Ownership: “It is wrong and immoral to seek to escape the consequences of one’s acts.” Mahatma Gandhi
Taking ownership is essential as a leader; you must lead without fear in the face of adversity and make quick decisions, which have consequences. If things go wrong you must take ownership even if this was a direct result of your team not executing the plan.
The same is applicable to being a parent, i.e. the type of school we decide to send our children to, will have an impact on their education. Taking ownership and accountability for the decisions that are made when it comes to your children, is particularly more important when they are young, as this will shape their future.
4Team work: “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” Michael Jordan
Teamwork is crucial as a parent, whether it’s dividing up who cleans the house and who feeds the baby, or who does the pickups and drop-offs from school as they get older. There is no doubt it’s easier to be a parent when you have more help and support. Family and friends are also a pivotal part of the team, especially when your child is young.
Undoubtedly, this is also the case when it comes to being a leader. In most cases, the strength of the team is a direct reflection of the leader. Strong teams exist through teamwork and collaboration. If you look at the greatest sporting teams or organisations, the pillar of their success is collaboration and teamwork.
As my journey continues through parenthood and leadership, I will face more obstacles and challenges. I will share these experiences with you as they happen. To conclude, from the similarities listed above, it’s safe to say that a great leader should make a great parent and vice versa.
What do you think about these similarities? Do you agree or disagree?
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