Leadership in Parenting: Intro

by | Mar 30, 2017 | Leadership | 0 comments

This was originally going to be a single blog post. As I started writing it quickly became apparent that there’s no way I can address it in 400 words or less. So I’ve decided to make it into a series instead. 


Perhaps the most significant leadership role in all of humanity is one that’s rarely discussed in the context of leadership: Parenting. Though more research is required to substantiate this, I’m guessing many moms and dads don’t equate their parenting efforts as leadership. Instead, most are likely just trying to manage their responsibilities and keep the train on the tracks.

Any marketplace leadership and/or leadership development responsibility has an analogous expression in the parent-child relationship: Delegating, vision-casting, decision making, performance management, budgeting, communication, trust, transparency, agility, listening, team building, collaboration, planning, training, coaching …

I would argue that the home is the best incubator of leadership skills the world has ever seen. As it should be.

The home is the best incubator of leadership skills the world has ever seen. As it should be.

“And Your Point Is…?”

Perhaps our challenge to create and grow leaders in the marketplace and society at large is due to the fact that we have missed on the opportunity to do it in the home.

So What?

It should be the great leadership incubator, but it’s not. Why? Good question. I’d offer several broad observations.

Perhaps our challenge to create and grow leaders in the marketplace and society at large is due to the fact that we have missed on the opportunity to do it in the home.

First, parenting is hard—really hard. There’s little-to-no training or preparation for it. Ironically, your parenting skills become adequate about the time your kids start having their own kids—just in time to see your role change to grandparenting. Nice.

Second, there’s the (often) unspoken and rather weird expectation we have (often formed before they’re even born) for how our kids should turn out. Not sure where that comes from, but I think it emboldens our attempts to control our kids rather than develop them.

Third, we succumb to the pressure that society views kids as a reflection of their parents. When others see our kids “fail” (whatever that means) we parents take it personally.

Finally, we’re human. We’re still trying to figure out this thing called life, so how can we effectively develop someone else?

But even those observations are more excuses than causes.

Ironically, your parenting skills become adequate about the time your kids start having their own kids.

The Big Picture

I think the reason parents don’t see parenting as leadership is simple: No one ever told them it was. Which makes sense, because we often don’t teach people how to lead in anything, much less parenting. Hopefully, this series will shed some light on the opportunity that we all have to incubate more and better leaders.

We often don’t teach people how to lead in anything, much less parenting.

Your Next Step

What can you do to step away from the emotional investment of parenting to more clearly see your opportunities to be a better parent-leader?

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