I have a son and I have a responsibility. This responsibility weighs heavily on me daily. I often question how I, as a woman, can shape who he is today and who he will become tomorrow. I coach leaders often on the key principles of driving engagement in the workplace and over the past few years I have taken those same principles and applied them to building a strong relationship with my son and I am happy to say, it works. Here are, in my opinion, the top three principles that contribute to high engagement in the home and in the workplace:
1. Genuinely Listen: In a world that is full of distraction and responsibility, listening becomes more and more of a challenge. Put away the phone and computer and listen. I make a point to look my child in the eyes while he is talking and when I do, he continues talking. He tells me about his deepest fears and awkward moments and I never judge.
2. Accountability: This is an area that I’m surprised to find that leaders and parents struggle to do on a consistent basis and I am no exception. With the constant demands and workload that weigh on us heavily, it is too easy to put off holding someone accountable. Too often we look at accountability in a negative light. My advice is to look at accountability as a development moment, because it is. We can’t learn or change our behaviors or performance if we are never told it is wrong. A simple change in mindset not only erases the negative connotation but also changes how we may enter into the conversation, respectfully.
3. Explain the Why: "Because I told you so" does not fly. Everyone deserves an explanation and that includes a child. Explaining the why behind the direction given is respectful. Providing the why brings a purpose to the message and creates a better result. More importantly it makes the individual think about how their actions fit the bigger picture.
My goal as a mother is to fill in the gaps for my son that he won’t learn in school, in church or on the playground. He is the why behind why I created this blog. Too often the examples that are given on television on how to lead is to yell, ridicule, and embarrass. We are surrounded by examples of rude behavior everyday. I owe it to him to show him that being respectful is at the core of of a true leader and a great person because I have a son and I have a responsibility.
Thank you for a great Mother’s Day!
As leaders we have an opportunity to influence others by sharing what we have learned. It is important to never forget where we started, how we struggled and what we learned along the way to get where we are today. We all have a story.
Fresh out of college I did not have a mentor, I did not have a network, and I didn’t have a career counselor. I was not business savvy, I didn’t understand office politics and I made mistakes. What I did have was true grit, the willingness to dig in and do the work, a willingness to learn and a willingness to be authentic. I doubted myself…all the time, yet, I pushed on.
A few lessons I have learned through my experiences are:
- Be curious, ask questions
- Be a lifelong student
- Do the work well and give more than expected
- Lean into your strengths
- Broaden your mind
- Be vulnerable
- Admit mistakes and learn from them
- Take ownership
- Listen well
- Push your comfort zone
- Be empathetic
- Manage time well
- Be intentional
- Don’t just show up
- Prepare for everything
Fast forward to today, I now have mentors, a network and my own personal board of directors. I continue to learn, push my comfort zone and share my story with others. For all of you interns and graduates to be, congratulations and good luck, you will do fine, so be calm and be super at whatever you do.