5 Ways Your Kids Can Help You Become a Better Leader
Written by: Maggie Perotin, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise
Even though I've been in business longer than I'm a parent, my kids have taught me a lot about leadership over the past few years. Especially that parenting and leadership have more in common than we realize. Today, I'd like to show you just how much.
1. Foundations of parenthood and leadership are the same We can all agree that for our kids to bloom and develop, they don't need expensive toys or brand name clothes but our love, safety, and support. It's not all that different for people we work with as professionals and business leaders. People will trust you when they know that you care about them as individuals and have their best interests at heart. When they feel safe, supported, and not scared of making mistakes, they'll grow and flourish. "It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed" – Napoleon Hill. As Napoleon Hill and many others after him said, our success as business leaders and parents boils down to growing others and helping them become successful
2. Kids teach you patience I'm not the most patient person in the world. But becoming a parent was the ultimate sink-or-swim school of patience for me. My kids have this uncanny ability to test how long I can keep calm by pushing my buttons over and over again 😊. And even though that's not how I feel in those moments, I have to say I'm grateful to them for that. They've inspired me to get better, to practice mindfulness, relieve stress, and create more joy in life. And the best part is that the more I exercise my patience skills, the less anything gets to me overall. And won't you agree that patience is needed big time as well when dealing with adults in business? Whether you have a team to lead or clients to serve or suppliers to negotiate with, just like kids, adults communicate and learn in different ways. They have unique personalities, and if you have the patience to tap to their potential, you'll attract the best of the best, creating success for you and them.
3. Crazy days at home are no different from emergencies at work Days spent parenting and running a business don't always work out the way you plan them. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about 😉. If you think the pre-COVID when our lives were much more hectic, think of a day when you were trying to get somewhere on time with your toddler and a 5-year-old? You plan plenty of time to get everyone ready. But halfway through the process, the toddler throws a tantrum, cleans his nose into your shirt while the 5-year-old decides to daydream, playing dolls in her room, forgetting to dress up. You're running out to the car already late, only to realize you missed to take the most important tutu in the world... Leading a business isn't that much different. You're supposed to deliver a big presentation, and the day of you find out that your assistant hasn't finished a critical slide, you asked them to prepare. While you scramble trying to think of plan B, the Internet is down, and the clock is ticking …. Sounds familiar? The great thing is that because your kids trained you how to handle their tantrums swiftly and with poise, you can do the same here when all hell breaks loose!
4. Honesty with respect goes a long way Being a great parent and business leader means you won't be "liked" by everyone all the time. Having respect for our kids and business partners means wanting the best for them. For their own good, we can't always give them everything they want, which sometimes requires us to be strict and firm with our decisions. Moreover, the same way we end up sometimes talking with our kids about a mistake they made and need to fix, we need to be candid with people we deal with in business and give them the feedback they might not want to hear. And I get it. It's not easy. That's why people often avoid having to do it using "I-don't-want-to-hurt-anyone's-feelings" excuse. But isn't it just a way of avoiding feeling uncomfortable? Your feedback, if delivered respectfully, can help those you care about grow. I love this quote from Thomas S. Monson that beautifully describes the point I'm trying to make: "When we treat people merely as they are, they will remain as they are. When we treat them as if they were what they should be, they will become what they should be."
5. Challenging yet fulfilling The truth is that both parenting and leading people in business are probably among the most challenging "jobs" there are. As leaders, we're the role models. We're who our kids and others look up to all the time. Sometimes it can feel exhausting or even lonely. But with great challenges come great rewards. The fulfillment, joy, and pride we feel watching others and our business grow and succeed are second to none. And you know what else? Whether we see it or not, we grow along with them. Thanks to my kids, I became more patient than I thought I could ever be. Their curiosity and wonder remind me how beautiful the world around us is every day. And people I lead, keep teaching me how much courage, passion, and care for one another can accomplish every day.
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Maggie Perotin, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Maggie Perotin is a business and leadership coach, helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses without the overwhelm so they can live the life they want. Through her DREAM-PLAN-DO coaching model, she helps her clients reach their potential and get results while maintaining balance in life.
Maggie has over 13 years of coaching and leadership experience in the corporate world in various domains. She holds a Masters Degree in International Relations, Facility Management Administration designation, and currently pursuing an Executive MBA at Jack Welch Management Institute. Maggie uses all her knowledge and experience to help entrepreneurs be strategic and creative in building a successful business and brand that attract their ideal clients. She is passionate about spending quality time with her blended family with four kids in the Canadian nature, traveling, self-development, and healthy cuisine of the world.
Jane M. Healy. 2004. Your child growing mind. Brain development and learning from birth to adolescence. Boardway Books