5 Leadership Lessons from my 5 Kids

Parenting and leadership are often interconnected

I have five kids, and we are waiting to adopt number six. Being a dad has taught me a lot about myself, others, and especially about leadership. Lots of people think we are crazy. Most people think our lives must be tough. I think our lives are full, entertaining, and interesting. But, that only happens when my wife and I can lead our family well.

Here are 5 things having 5 kids has taught me about leadership:

  1. It’s about tenacity! A good leader is tenacious, holding to core beliefs and positions and not letting go because someone is whining to get their way. When five kids are all whining to get their way, being tenacious is tough! But, I have seen the results when people give in to kids (or team) too easily. I never want to make that mistake.

  2. Energy management is a must! I probably need to think and write about this more as it’s not often talked about. Having five kids to manage takes a lot of energy, and I only have so much. As my kids and companies grow, I have to be careful about how I expend energy and replenish it. I have to know what drains me and what fills me back up.

  3. When things get stressful, step back. Having five kids in the car all asking you questions at the same time is insanely stressful. I have had to learn to step back (or step outside of the car) in those moments when it feels like everyone is coming at me. I’m learning the same with my work; when it feels like everyone is after me, the best thing I can do is step back, take a breath, collect my thoughts and then re-engage.

  4. Always believe the best. No one sees their kid act up and thinks they are a terrible person. Instead, we assume they are having a bad day or have poor judgment at that moment. I choose to believe the best in all five of my kids, seeing them as wonderful individuals with a lot to contribute to the world. If I can believe the best in my kids (in whom I also see many negative traits daily, see whining example above), I can also choose to believe the best in my team, clients, volunteers, etc. Believing the best in people is one of the best mindsets for leadership that I have ever come across.

  5. Insert fun when possible. When I’m gone, I want my kids to remember me as kind, loving, and fun. I want them to know how I feel about them every day and take that with them as they grow. I also think having fun with the teams I lead is important. It helps us to bond and grow. Doing fun things together helps us to trust one another more and work more cohesively. Fun can be as simple as joking around on a team call or as complex as taking a team outing. Either way, inserting fun into the relationship with my kids or with my teams makes me a better leader and a better person.

This post originated on my blog here.

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Great leadership reading from this week.


This week I’m thinking about:
Office Culture

I read an interesting article this week titled “We Don’t Care About Your Precious Office Culture, You Can Keep It.” It basically outlined how 20% of what we do when working in an office isn’t directly related to our jobs. We talk at the coffee station, end up coaching a co-worker through something, spend too much time catching up about what happened over the weekend, etc. On top of that, working remotely, we also save the commute team. This means a LOT of time gets saved by working remotely, and thus, many of us (myself included) intend to continue working that way.

One of the arguments for going to an office is to have an “office culture.” This is a straw man put there simply because the leader wants to be in the office and likes that approach to work. I have run multiple virtual companies over the last ten years that never had an office. All of them had great “office culture” and strong bonds between team members. Maybe I’ll write more on that in a later issue. Until then, check out the article, and comment with what you think!

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