Four Principles For Great Parents and Great Leaders to Follow
Photo Courtesy iStock.com/Edward Bock
One of my proudest accomplishments as a young man was being able to serve in the United States Army. I was fortunate enough to attend college on an Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) scholarship. In return, I served as an officer in one of the finest organizations in the world. I received extensive training in physical and mental toughness, ethics, and was placed in just about every leadership scenario one can think of in order to effectively lead people into battle if necessary. While that was a great experience, and one that I am very proud of, the best leadership training that I had without question was when I became a parent.
When my daughter was born, I reorganized the priorities in my life. My family life became much more important to me. Suddenly, I had to think of someone else’s needs before my own. I knew that God had given me an awesome responsibility and I didn’t want to mess it up. I, however, wasn’t sure that I could handle it. I was a first-time parent and raising this child was at times overwhelming. I remember having several conversations with my own parents, relatives, and close friends who had been down this road before. I received a lot of advice; however, I remember hearing four common principles to keep in mind as I raised this child.
Lead by example
I learned that my child may not listen to what I say but will always watch what I do. I am a proud example. Many of the values and character traits that I have today came from my parents. Yes, life experiences caused me to alter some of these traits but I picked up the basics from Mom and Dad.
Communicate on their level
Most parents that I know talk to their child on a level and in a manner that they will understand. Words can positively or negatively affect their self-esteem; therefore, many child development experts recommend that you get on their level, make your requests simple, use positive directions, and actively communicate by listening as well as talking to your child.
Encourage them to do their best
All parents want their child to be a straight A student or a star athlete. For many, this is simply not realistic. What is possible is for parents to encourage their children to use all of their God-given talents as well as the values and character traits that they were taught to do their best.
Relax and have fun
As parents, we expect perfection from ourselves and our children. Frequently, this leads to unnecessary frustration for you and your child. Relax and realize that we all make mistakes. The key is to learn from your mistakes and move on. Also, parenting is a life-long commitment. Yes, it can be hard at times but also very rewarding. Take time out to enjoy the journey.
After fully understanding these principles, I began to relax and enjoy being a parent. As my daughter grew older and prepared for school, I shifted my career focus and began to accept more leadership roles at work. I quickly realized that the same principles that worked for me as a parent also could apply to the workplace. People want effective leadership, whether it is my young daughter or a seasoned employee at work. Everyone wants to succeed in life and we are willing to follow those who possess the character, clarity, competence, and commitment to help us win. The principles are the same. Take the time to learn them and you too can be on your way to becoming the leader that you are meant to be.