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 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.


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 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…



What’s your story, TWO minute manager?

Everyone has heard or read about the “One minute manager“, the classic managment “telltale” book by Blanchard & Johnson’s published in the late 80’s. In this post I’m trying to advocate for the “TWO minute manager”, not to be taken literally, however, it suggests that it’s not as easy as it sounds – and an important tool for getting your point across is using the format of “The One minute manager”.

Undeniably, one of the most important tasks of leadership is making sure that everyone in your organization knows the direction and priorities so people further down the hierarechy knows what to decide when faced with everyday decision in the work environment. You may argue this is why you have a vision and a strategy document in the first place, however, I have found that communicating the strategy is not as easy as it sounds.  Another way of disseminating your intentional message throughout the organisation is running a thorough “strategy process” involving all levels of the organization. Although, I am a believer in engaging everyone in this process is both costly and time consuming – and still in order to have an effect, the process would have to be repeated frequently.

For those involved in the process of generating, comprehension of the strategy is not an issue, – although I’ve found that even in this case oppinions differ somewhat – and undeniably the situation is even more challenging when it comes to those that were not connected to your strategy process.

But how do you get the attention of your audience, and how do you get your message across, where we’re increasingly bombarded with messages in a torrent of information?

This, of couse, whe the blessing of communcation comes in. From experience, I’ve found that telling a good story or anecdote is a very effective way to show people what is important and establish trust that you believe in the strategy – show your passion – share your stories.

For a pleasant read and a good strating point to understand how you can create your stories please see “Made-to-stick“- (see also my shameless praise of this book in my review)

In your quest to create your story:

  • Say WHY the goal is so important for the team or organization and PLEASE say something about HOW you’re going to get there
  • A good leadership story has to appeal to heart and mind and must contain the following ingredients:
  1. The story refers to something you’ve experience and what you learned from it
  2. The story strikes a cord with the audience on an emotional level because it is relevant to them and they can relate to it
  3. The story inspires people becase you pour your enthusiasm and authenticity into it
  4. The story shows the tention between the goal and the motstanden you will face when you’re going to reach your destination
  5. The story is illustrated by a vivid example
  6. The store contains important insight.

And last, but not least… it is like everything else: It’s hard work! After all it is not a “fairytale”…

Good luck!



What I learned – The Go-Giver

In line with the story telling tradition of “The one minute manager”, “The Go-Giver” is an easy to read, heartwarming and inspiring tale that brings new relevance to the old proverb “give and you shall receive”. The Go-Giver tells the story of an ambitious young man named Joe who yearns for success. Joe is a true go-getter, though sometimes he feels as if the harder and faster he works, the further away his goals seem to be. And so, one day, desperate to land a key sale at the end of a bad quarter, he seeks advice from the enigmatic Pindar, a legendary consultant referred to by his many devotees simply as the Chairman.

Over the next week, Pindar introduces Joe to a series of “go-givers”: a restaurateur, a CEO, a financial adviser, a real-estate broker, and the “Connector”, who brought them all together. Pindar’s friends share with Joe the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success and teach him how to open himself up to the power of giving. Joe learns that changing his focus from getting to giving – putting others’ interests first and continually adding value to their lives – ultimately leads to unexpected returns.

During the 5 working days of the week, one new laws is revealed and presented:

  1. Law of value – Does it serve? It is stated that true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment. It is hard to argue otherwise.
  2. Law of compensation – How many people do you serve and how well do you serve them?
  3. Law of influence – How much do you place other people’s interest first?
  4. Law of authenticity – Is it true to who you are and what you are about? To sustain credibility you cannot mimic other people.
  5. Law of receptivity – In order to give, somebody has to receive. This means that you need to be willing and able to receive from others. Don’t take away other people’s

I believe the book ties well into what to me seems to be a wave of “purpose orientation”. In the global collapse of the economy, it seems we need to revive from the previous shallow monetary and social success.

The book does a good job of redefining success in a sense a little bit like Coveys “The 8th habit”.

Worth reading?
Yes, I think it is an inspiring anecdote and it doesn’t take long to read. If you’re anything like me, you buy the audio book at audible.


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