This is an excerpt from my latest book FIRST COME COURAGE.
At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.”
Jane D. Hull
It’s a strange thought. In our world today, everything is separate. Work life is separate from home life. Home life is separate from our social lives. We are different people in each. Different versions of ourselves. And success can be when none of these worlds collide! In this context, it’s a strange thought that these different worlds could work together to improve each other. To build each other.
What would our world be like if we allowed some of these worlds to cross? What would happen if we allowed some of the care, we have for our children to show in our engagements as leaders, in our teams at work.
Or what if we allowed the courageous leadership we display and encourage in our workplaces, to inspire our children to become courageous, brave and resilient adults. At the end of the day, isn’t parenting the most important leadership role we will ever face?
What our world needs today is courageous parents. Parents who are committed to growing kind, resilient young people. Young people with purpose, who deliver impact.
Parents are leaders. We have already discussed incredibly courageous parents such as Tame Okada above, and the parents of Rhuksana Kausar. These were courageous parents who lead their families with courage.
In a business context, the actions and behaviours of good parents can provide a lot of inspiration to turn good leaders and into great leaders. While good parents shouldn’t hesitate to use their great leadership skills at home as well, to become great parents. It’s a Yin Yang thing again, the confluence of work and home is where the value is.
A group of psychologists from the University of British Columbia, Queen’s University (Canada) and the University of Victoria (Australia) draw a very interesting link between transformational leadership and transformational parenting. The results are particularly powerful in teenagers.
The group propose that it might just be that skills that you might learn in an MBA could be very helpful in personal situations also, slightly blurring the line between how you as a professional conducts yourself and builds value and how you as a parent conducts yourself and builds value.
What does transformational leadership mean in this context? It’s the form of leadership that elevates the beliefs and motives of others and supports them in developing and growing.
Transformational leadership and transformational parenting help to develop strong values and purpose, which are incredibly important in both teams and families. It helps in building individual identities in both team members and in children. It is about empowering and encouraging autonomy and responsibility. Our kids, in particular, can thrive in a transformational leadership environment. They become self-sufficient, confident and motivated to keep improving themselves. To take on a growth mindset. It also means that both children and parents grow, develop and continually improve.
What are the steps you can take in either a business or personal context to realise the benefits of courageous and transformational leadership?
- A transformational approach means assessing your own feelings and reactions when making decisions.
- Once you have assessed these decisions, it means taking responsibility for your own actions and behaviours. Through leading by example in this space, your teams or teens are more inclined to see the benefits and follow your example.
- Blur the lines between the personal you and the professional you. Show your team you care, in a similar way that you show your children that you care. Genuinely caring and being kind can motivate your teams to be more successful, to perform better.
- Listen to your teams and your children; listen like they are the only thing that really matters to you at that time. Don’t reschedule on-on-one meetings. Take the time to really connect on what is important to either your team member or your child. They are your top priority in that moment.
- Whether it’s your child, your emerging leader or a team member, create a safe environment for them try, fail fast and learn.
- Acknowledge mistakes, but focus on learning from them rather than punishing them.
- Positive reinforcement is key. Focus on the successes, even the small ones, and learning from both these and the things that didn’t go so right.
- Provide formal and informal coaching, helping to set them up for the future challenges that will definitely come. This is in either a professional or personal environment.
- Make your young one or your team member feel confident. This is a no judgement, no criticism space, just constructive discussions to build confidence and guide in the right direction, celebrating all achievements. Confident people outperform insecure people in almost every situation.
- Focus on strengthening strengths (I mention this in both books Leadership Attitude and Just Rock It!). It seems counter intuitive, if it’s a strength, why would you focus on this? Would you be better to place that focus on a weakness that needs work? While this might be good in some situations, there’s a thought thread that if you are looking to build motivation and see fast benefits from quick wins, you should focus on strengthening your strengths, or encouraging your teens or teams to do this. There is already a natural interest in this area, why not exploit it?
- Believe in those you are leading. Even if they don’t necessarily believe in themselves at the beginning, your belief in them can be contagious. In my story of my school teacher earlier, his belief in me was contagious. It led to me believing in myself. If you have confidence in your team member or child, it will drive positive behaviours and resilience in them to work through a problem and achieve a solution. It’s about unwavering belief and support.
- Focus on development. As both good parents and good leaders, our focus is on developing others. Showing the kids how to wash the dishes properly and then stepping back and letting them do it on their own is developing them. Yes, it’s painful sometimes, and there may be a need to quality checking and re-do every now and then. But they quickly improve. It’s the same with your teams. Don’t rush to jump in and provide a solution. Ask the right questions and be a sounding board to help your team member develop a solution to a situation for themselves.
Read more in my book FIRST COMES COURAGE…
And, remember, Leadership as a parent is the most important leadership role – and it starts from within, so grab my latest book FIRST COMES COURAGE!
Get in touch today to learn more about building leadership skills and set yourself and your team up for success!
Stay Kind. Stay Courageous.
Sonia McDonald is a courageous leader. A cutting edge entrepreneur. A high performing businesswoman and seasoned professional. A caring mother. An impactful speaker. All with an action bias.
She Is Passionate About Your Success.
From little things…
Following a forced lifestyle change in 2006, founder Sonia McDonald joined the consulting world and discovered her purpose in inspiring people to learn and grow. With a flair for leadership and strong writing talents, Sonia started the LeadershipHQ blog in 2007. It quickly became a must-read for leaders looking for a more people-centred way of leading.
…big things grow!
With a growing following and the desire to make an even greater impact, Sonia established the LeadershipHQ consulting business in 2008. Since then, she has helped thousands of leaders through her advisory work, keynotes, coaching, workshops and presentations across the Globe.
Sonia believes we should lead with kindness and courage, from the heart, doing rather than telling. She is known for her mantra ‘just lead’.
She leads by example. But not content with words alone, Sonia inspires action, helping individuals and organisations grow through one-on-one practical coaching, keynotes, workshops and advisory services.
…she has grown great leaders!
Sonia has helped thousands of good leaders become great leaders; progressing their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire others to join them.
For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of Human Resources, Leadership and People and Culture. She has held leadership positions worldwide. Through experience, research and study, Sonia has come to realise what it takes to be a truly courageous leader.
…she speaks bravely!
Sonia speaks bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, her personal journey and career challenges. It is this relatable, heart-warming and humorous approach that resonates with her audience and has seen her become an in-demand keynote speaker with a timely message of courageous, kind leadership.
Putting people at ease, Sonia starts important conversations and inspires courageous action in people around the world. She is an award-winning author of Leadership Attitude and Just Rock It! and writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. Her next book First Comes Courage is now released!