Recently I had the pleasure of delivering an invited talk at an international conference on leadership. After the talk someone from the audience asked me: “what are some similarities and differences you’ve observed between coaching parents and leaders?” After thinking for a few seconds the answer seemed obvious: They both find ways to blame the very people they are meant to influence; leaders blame their workforce and parents blame their kids. The simple truth although a bit alarming, isn’t surprising once the facts are considered.
Most of us learn how to read and write, add and subtract simple numbers, and even drive a car by the age of 17. How is it that learning to be a good leader can be missed in all of this? The truth is it’s rare for anyone, including parents or business leaders to have any formal training in behavior. A basic understanding would likely increase the chances of having a meaningful impact on the people we care most about. As parents and leaders, we are the consequence providers. We manage the environments that others live and work in and we have more influence than we think. People who have success influencing others aren’t innately better leaders, they’ve just learned to be.