Three Similarities Leadership and Parenthood Share
I believe there are three similarities leadership and parenthood share. I used to joke that if you are a parent, then you can be a good leader because employees behave just like kids. They want your time, your attention, and they fight amongst themselves just like siblings do. They want toys and gifts, and certain employees are demanding just like little kids are. They later discover that the world actually does not revolve around them. It takes a lot of courage, love, and patience to be a parent. I believe it’s the same for leaders.
Let’s look at three similarities leadership and parenthood share:
Leadership and parenthood require patience.
From the moment a baby is born, parents must be patient with their new daughter or son. With sleepless nights, parents are tired and even the little things can diminish their patience. In a traditional family setting, ideally, the mother does certain things such as nursing the baby. The father can help with other tasks such as cooking or washing the countless bottles! Parents must also be patient with themselves and with each other as they adjust to the new family member. As the family grows, more adjusting must happen in order to keep peace and order in the family.
In the workplace, leaders must be patient with each employee as they get familiar with their jobs. And as the team grows, the leader must learn to lead and manage each employee as individuals. Leaders learn quickly they can’t manage every person similarly as what works with one person may not work with another. It is the leader’s responsibility to adjust their leadership style to each person they lead. At the same time, leaders must be patient with themselves as they grow within their own job and develop their leadership talent.
Love and care are critical in any relationship.
Newborns need and yearn to be loved and accepted from day one. The best parents are not afraid to tell their children with words how much they love each child. Children and even adults need to know that they are loved by their parents more than anyone else in the world. Children raised in a single-parent home, unfortunately, miss hearing those words from the parent who is absent. However, one parent can make up for that gap in love when doing so with intentionality.
As children grow up and go to work, they still (as human beings) need to know that the boss cares for them—at the personal level and not only as producers in the workplace. Leaders must learn how to display their care for each person the same way that parents discover how each child likes to be loved, recognized, and cared for. Again, it’s on the leader to find out and get to know each employee.
Mentoring and guidance equip the youth for success.
As a child grows up, parents have an amazing opportunity to mentor and guide their child through childhood, teenage years, and young adulthood. There is no human being that does not need guidance during their growing years and even as adults later. And although many parents do their best and their child goes another way, you must never stop mentoring your children, so they can never tell you, “you never told me” or “you didn’t warn me.”
In the workplace, leaders naturally play the role of mentor and provide guidance to their employees. Everyone needs a mentor who cares about their success in the various aspects of life. Many successful people owe at least part of their success to a person who mentored them during their careers or got them through difficult times in their personal life.
I encourage you to always do your best as a parent and as a leader if you happen to have these two incredible opportunities to influence others in your life. Ensure you are the most influential person in your child’s life while you can. In the workplace, ensure your employees feel valued, cared for, and take every opportunity to mentor them while they are under your leadership. Understanding these three similarities leadership and parenthood share helps you succeed as a parent and as a leader.