7 leadership skills I learned from my kids


A few weeks ago, I started realizing (yes, maybe I am a slow learner), that my relationship with my kids is dyadic in the sense that knowledge sharing and personal development goes both ways.

First of all – I get to try out my leadership skills – because being a parent is definitely a leadership skills. I’ve also come to believe that you can use some of the same tactics on both arenas. I know this sound kind of cynical, however, I take my role as a dad very seriously – and no doubt even more seriously than “just being a boss”. Secondly, I’ve come to believe that observing my kids have made me reflect on who I am as a person. Somtimes I see traits that I recognize as part of my own legacy – that reflect who I am, and some I see traits I don’t assiciate with (maybe will later realize that it IS me – I just haven’t seen it yet). Anyway, I’ve tried to summarize it below:

Always start with a smile

A real smile will get you far. The simplest way to demonstrate a positive attitude is to smile. This expression has so many benefits to both you and others around you. It is a marvellous way to show others that you are feeling good. Seeing someone smile makes others smile too! There is even research that shows positive effects mentally and physically. E.g. according to (Bernstein, et al., 2000) “feedback from facial expression affects emotional expression and behavior”. Put in simple terms, you may actually be able to improve your mood by simply “putting on a smile”! Besides, if a positive attitude doesn’t affect the outcome – well at least you were happy trying.

Be authentic

It is OK to be yourself – first of all you need accept that. Ask yoursel: If you’re not going to be yourself – who are you going to be? My best guess is “a blurred copy of someone else”. Besides, I am convinced no-one is better at being you than you are yourself. However, a small warning may be in order: Do yoursel a favor and don’t make this an excuse for complacency – NOT being self-aware and NOT trying to be the best you that you can  be. Explore who you truly are – then utilise your positive attributes.

Believe

Believe in yourself, believe in others, believe that what they tell you is the truth. At least acknowledge that what they are telling you is the truth to them. Belief is the strong cousin of determination, but as always – balancing it with adult realism doesn’t hurt either.

Feel

Allow your feelings to surface. If you’re mad – be mad – but then get it over with and get over it. Don’t hold a grudge and keep it burning at a low rate, just to take it out of your bag in your next confrontation.

Be resillient

Everything does not always go as planned. In fact, in my experience NOTHING goes exatly according to plan – ever. But, that’s not really a problem – is it. The important thing is how you cope with that. Of course we all try our best to get in control, use our experience and try to manage plans so . It is important to move on and bounce back – if you fail – try again. One thing some of the most successful people have in common is that they have failed several times – often miserably. Fail fast – fail often…

Laugh

Laugh a lot! Laugh at the situation – laugh at yourself – then laugh at others. Laughing has some of the same positive effects as smiling. It is also contagious and helps bonding in more ways than I dare to imagine.

Say I’m sorry

Don’t be afraid to say what you mean, but beware that you may hurt people around you. And when you realise this – admit it to yourself – then apologize.

These were some initial thoughts on what I think I’ve learned – so far. Please note – this is definitely not finished – it is at best work in progress…

Austin

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