How Being a Parent Improves Your Leadership Competency

With all the juggling and balancing of being a parent and doing your leadership day job, it's easy to feel like you can never do enough.

After all, you only have so many hours in a day, and on most days someone gets the short stick. If you're like me, there are days the guilt comes on so strong you wonder if you're trying to do too much.

Maybe your kids would be better off if you worked less. Or perhaps your team would be stronger if you didn't have your competing parenting priorities.

Let me introduce an important reframing. chances are you are actually a better leader because of your parenting, not in spite of it.

Look around at the best leaders you know. I bet that at some point in their lives, they went home at night to what they considered their most important job, kissed them, and tucked them in bed.

Juggling makes us better multi-taskers. Wiping tears makes us better listeners. Parenting is all about influence. So is leadership.

8 Ways Parenting Improves Leadership Competency

As a parent you must:

  1. Care Deeply About Results - How your children turn out matters a lot. You care about outcomes and learn to watch for signs of improvement or indications your sweet little project is getting off course. Caring deeply is the first step to making a difference.
  2. Manage Through The Shock Factor - My mom's favorite story is when I ate the diaper pail deodorizer. I've got some doozies from my own kids. Parents deal with such stupidity around the clock. So it takes more than a little workplace nonsense to get us rattled.
  3. Take The Long View - Parents invest deeply for the long run. They know that every move won't be perfect, but they're going for the long-term impact. Leaders see mistakes as an opportunity to grow.
  4. Juggle To Survive - For most parents juggling has become an important survival skill. This translates well to prioritizing and getting a heck of a lot done.
  5. Be Resourceful - No funding? Ask a parent to figure out a way to make it happen. Parents have to get creative and make the most of what they've got lying around.
  6. Act Like A Grown-Up - My friend says that she considers a finished book report a win if the kid is the only one crying. Parents get enough drama at home; they don't have energy to get sucked into more of it at work.
  7. Speak Simply & Check For Understanding - Parents know that just because you ask a kid to do something, doesn't mean they heard you. They learn to double-check to ensure the message is clear.
  8. Influence - To simply say "because mommy said so" doesn't work. Parents learn to influence and inspire the behaviors they most want to see in their children.

It works the other way too. Being a good leader is a great way to develop leadership in your children.

Are you interested in developing leadership in your children? Then you might be interested in the Parent's Guide To Leadership, a free ebook, available for download at Let's Grow Leaders.

NOTE: There will not be a Lead Change Group post tomorrow (12/31/14). We look forward to greeting you on 1/2/15 with our first post of the year! ~ pk