I have not yet had the pleasure of being a parent, but we are expecting in March of 2012. We actually find out today if our baby is a boy or a girl. Kristen and I are mentally preparing ourselves for parenthood. We are reading countless books and taking in as much advice from others as we can. We have heard about how challenging it can be, how it is going to change our lives completely, and yet, it will be the best thing in the world. I am grateful for all the advice others have shared with us – it all helps in building the excitement Kristen and I feel with the passing of each day. And while it is not my nature, I am nervous. Parenthood requires influence in regards to growing and developing another human being. You cannot “make” someone be a certain way. Of course you can discipline, make rules, etc., but the real development comes from influence, which creates motivation to grow and develop a certain way. I know how hard Leadership in the professional world can be, and truly believe that to be great parents we are going to have to be great leaders at home. Is it possible to take Leadership skills learned in the professional world and bring them over into our personal lives? Is it possible for great parents to take Leadership skills learned in parenting and bring them over to the professional world? I think the answer is yes to both, but since I am not a parent yet, I cannot be certain. However, I do have something to share about the great parents I know.
When observing the style of the greatest parents I know, it resembles Leadership in many ways. They hold their children accountable, reward them when they do well, and motivate them to do the right thing. They respect them and demand respect from them. Their children’s success motivates them more than their own, and they understand the personality of each child and mold their parenting methods around what works for the individual, rather than treating each the same. Sounds like leadership to me, but with one thing missing. If it does not work out, you do not just part ways. You love your child no matter what. Therefore, parenthood is likely the greatest leadership challenge of all.
I am embracing parenthood and have the hopes that my current leadership skills will help in this new stage of my life. Parents can also apply what they have learned to their professional lives. People need much of the same ongoing Leadership and influence as a child does, and parents have already had great training. If the desire and tenacity (if you have the energy to do it at work, as well as in the home) exists, great parents have the skills to be great leaders outside of the home as well.
For those parents that are reading this and saying, “Boy is he in for it” – you are probably right and I will never deny my ignorance, but I am doing my best to mentally prepare and to be the best parent to my child I can possibly be. Any advice you have is welcome – please keep it coming.