In my early twenties I remember being at an airport as I was waiting to fly to Denmark for work. I struck up a conversation with a young father, who shared a story with me about seeing his teenage daughter kiss a boy for the first time out the front of their house.
As I was really struggling in my relationship with my parents at the time and it was something that was top of mind for me as it impacted how I viewed and thought of myself on a daily basis.
The way this man spoke about his role as a parent, really warmed my heart and to this day I remember exactly what he said his view was on parenting…
“We only have our kids to enable them to move on in life, we don’t own them, we don’t hold them, we equip them to create their own [life].”
He also shared how he felt privileged to be his kids’ dad, he was grateful for the role he could play in setting them for whatever they wanted their life to be. It gave him a great sense of purpose and fulfillment.
Maybe this is why I’m so incredibly passionate about leadership, the right kind of leadership…servant and compassionate leadership, empowering the people in their care to be set up for success in their current and future roles as well as in life in general.
Now being a parent myself, I see constant examples of parenting being just like leadership:
- We need structure both as adults and as children (even if we don’t always like it!) to thrive and be creative within those boundaries
- We want to be recognised for who we are, what we value as individuals, how we are different and the contribution we bring to a bigger purpose (either our family or a team or company’s goals)
- We crave stimulation to grow, to progress in life and to be empowered to pursue meaningful goals
Our own life is finite, there’s a beginning and an end. Being a parent or a leader (in the broadest sense of the word) is the privilege of being part of the infinite game of life in general.
As a parent we are privileged to give our life meaning by providing the foundations to other human-being(s) to pursue their dreams in life and make a positive impact in the world. As a leader we can do the exact same for the people we lead.
We all know the impact of bad parenting, but do we realise the far reaching impacts of finite rather than infinite leadership?