I’m definitely not a parenting expert. I haven’t read a lot of books on parenting, and I don’t intentionally speak or write on the subject. But I am a parent, and I’m both honored and respectful of this enormous responsibility.
In my occupation, I get to meet and work with some amazing people. These people lead at all levels within their organizations, and their organizations are in a variety of different of industries.
Because everyone is so unique in his or her style of leadership, I often wonder about the type of environment they were exposed to while growing up. I think our home life is one very important factor that shapes our outlook on leadership and affects our approach to leadership as adults.
This thought prompted me to send an e-mail to my team earlier in the week pointing out that as parents, we aren’t just raising children; we’re raising leaders. So what are our children learning from their surroundings?
I’ve observed that the most successful leaders are individuals who have a healthy balance between competent skill sets (head) and social or relational skill sets (heart). These skill sets are learned through our life, but we develop many of them as we’re growing up.
Compassion and a love for people are certainly two of the most desirable characteristics in a leader. As a parent, have you ever considered how you show your children compassion and love? Do they see it in you? Do they receive it from you?
When your children grow up to lead others, they will need to have the ability and the desire to love and serve others. Very few individuals learn this on the job because there are not many bosses who can teach the heart side of leading to someone who protects their heart.
On the other hand, how are you parenting for competence? Are you grooming your kids to think? Are you exposing them to experiences that stimulate their mind? How do your kids see you behave about work? Do you complain about it every day, or do you show your excitement about making an impact?
While love and compassion are certainly necessary to be a great leader, they can’t stand alone! Leaders must be competent and capable to be excellent at their trade. This unique combination of the head and the heart are crucial for being a successful leader. Too much or too little of either leaves us short of experiencing true fulfillment and impact. It’s true for us today, and it’s true of the leaders we’re raising for tomorrow.