There are numerous definitions of leadership. You can ask a dozen different people and get a dozen different answers– everything from being the head of a company, organization or country, to a leader is someone who makes things better for everyone through their influence and vision.

When I took on my first position as a leader, I knew I needed help, so I read my first leadership book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, to prepare for my new role. Much to my surprise, I realized how similar parenting and leadership were. I see a distinct parallel between leadership and parenting, particularly good leadership and good parenting.

How good leadership is like good parenting: 
Good Leaders Good Parents
  • Care about their people
  • Care about their family
  • Want success for their people
  • Want success for their children
  • Educate and equip their people for success with people skills
  • Educate and equip their children for success with people skills – manners count!
  • Want their people to become independent and take responsibility
  • Want their children to become independent and take responsibility
  • Trust their people because they equipped them well
  • Trust their children because they equipped them well
  • Share their experience with their people and bring them on learning experiences with them
  • Share their experience with their children and take them on learning experiences
  • Create an environment where it’s safe for their people to make mistakes and learn
  • Create an environment where it’s safe for their children to make mistakes and learn
  • Challenge their people to be better
  • Challenge their children to be better
  • Set the example for their people to follow
  • Set the example for their children to follow
  • When things get tough, they work together instead of letting their people go
  • When things get tough,  work together as a family instead of kicking them out to fend for themselves
  • See the best in their people and let them know they believe in them
  • See the best in their children and let them know they believe in them
  • Don’t take their problems out on their people
  • Don’t take their problems out on their children
  • Spend time with their people to get to know them
  • Spend time with their children to develop the relationship
  • Have high hopes for their people
  • Have high hopes for their children
  • Strive to be fair and even handed and not to show favouritism
  • Strive to be fair and even handed and not to show favouritism
  • Provide secure environment for their people to grow
  • Provide secure environment for their children to grow
  • Ask and then listen to the hopes and dreams of their people
  • Ask and then listen to the hopes and dreams of their children
  • Their results are not always seen immediately but in the results of others of as they become leaders themselves
  • Their results are not always seen immediately but in the results of their children as they grow into fine adults

Everyone has their own style of leadership, just like everyone has their own style of parenting, but there are definitely ways to be a good parent, and there are ways to be a good leader.I’m sure I could continue with this list, but you get the idea.

The best parenting advice I ever got was given to me by the pastor at my mother’s funeral. I was a young mother with three little ones of my own, and I think he knew that I was feeling the loss of someone who could guide me on my journey as a parent. He had seven children of his own, and he told me that each and every one of them was different. There was no magic formula to being a good parent except that to keep what is best for them at the forefront of everything that I do, not what is just best for me and my husband.

Leadership is caring for the success of the other person more than caring about your own success and wanting to help them achieve it. Leadership is being the best version of ourselves so that those we influence can be the best version of themselves.

There are many ways to lead just like there are many ways to parent. Some good, and others not so good. But, the best news is that anyone can be a better leader, just as anyone can be a better parent. It comes down to being intentional about what you want to create for your team and for your life.

 

Originally published Sept 1, 2017 on the John Maxwell Team Blog, The Leading Edge: http://johnmaxwellteam.com/2017/09/04/the-leading-edge-the-other-name-for-leadership/

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