This is the 11th of 12-part series is about the most basic—and vital—of leadership roles. In my experience, parenting is rarely discussed as leadership. Yet without sound parenting, no generation has any real hope of building capable bench strength of future leaders. These last four posts are based on data-driven principles found in Strengths Based Leadership by Tom Rath.


I saw a recent AP survey that showed 74% of adult Americans believe people are more rude now than 20-30 years ago. I tend to agree; it does seem like our world is becoming increasingly impersonal.

There are lots of reasons, but at the top of my list would be busy-ness. The pace of life moves so fast, and pressures and work/life demands dilute our ability to think, live and to relate deeply with others. In fact, I believe busy-ness is a contributing factor in the erosion of quality leadership in our time: People are becoming too shallow to lead others effectively.

People are becoming too shallow to lead others effectively.

A casualty of this impersonality is compassion: The quality of being concerned with someone else’s interests and well-being, and engaging with them at a personal level. In other words, valuing people.

Why is this important? If people realize that you don’t care about them, you’ll never be able to lead them effectively. And, there’s a much more strategic reality…

If people realize that you don’t care about them, you’ll never be able to lead them effectively.

“And Your Point Is…?”

If kids don’t learn compassion, they’ll struggle to display compassion as adults. 

So What?

Raising compassionate kids doesn’t mean teaching them to be soft, overly friendly, or to avoid confrontation. It’s teaching them that every person has value and self-worth, regardless of their qualifications or position. It’s helping them to see that everyone on a team has a role to play, and that everyone needs someone who’s got their back. It’s teaching them that they can actually work with people—sometimes at the expense of their own interests—even if they don’t necessarily get along with them.

Sounds like the ingredients for a great team environment.

It also sounds like a family, doesn’t it? It’s yet another reason why the home is one of the best leadership incubators around.

The home is one of the best leadership incubators around.

The Big Picture

As parents, we should do all we can to help our kids understand and practice compassion. If they are ever going to be in a position to truly influence their world as adults, they will need to work with and through people. And they can only do that if they authentically display compassion.

Your Next Step

What will you do today as a parent to demonstrate genuine compassion to your kid(s)?

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