There is a lot of help out there for those who wish to improve their leadership skills. One can choose from 22,000 books with “leadership” in the title. If “self-help” is what you are looking for, 38,000 choices are available. If “character” is your area of concentration you have another 31,000 titles to select from. And if reading isn’t your preferred method of learning then you can always purchase thousands of CDs or DVDs to get you where you think you need to go.
With so many educational choices, one would think to be a “great” leader is easy. If only it were so. There’s a parallel to this conundrum as to why we have so many laws on the books—34 million by last count. Perhaps we should have just stuck with the Ten Commandments. But I digress.
Maybe we should align our thinking with Dr. Ray Guarendi, well-known author and clinical psychologist, whose Parenting Facts of Life mirrors certain “leadership truths.” For those who have the dual responsibility of both raising children and inspiring adults the following advice may be helpful:
- Leadership Fact of Life #1—There are no perfect leaders (parents). Strong leaders (parents) don’t have all the answers and don’t know what to say or how to say it.
- Leadership Fact of Life #2—Mistakes are as integral to the workplace (home life) as employees (children) are. Strong leaders don’t fear mistakes.
- Leadership Fact of Life #3—Leaders (parents) aren’t always paragons of patience. Patience is an ideal to strive for, not a day-to-day reality.
- Leadership Fact of Life #4—Leaders (parents) aren’t always popular. Strong leaders (parents) may be temporarily disliked because they are willing to make decisions based on their company’s (family’s) long-term welfare.
- Leadership Fact of Life #5—Time is the essence of the workplace (home) and the framework for investing in the company’s (family’s) greatest resource—its people (children).
Fortitude is what differentiates good parenting from great parenting—good leadership from great leadership. Demanding perfection won’t cut it. Learning from your mistakes will. The key is to recognize that there will be times when fortitude—courage, conviction, and character—represents the formula to both face and overcome adversity. Or said another way:
“Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.”
General George S. Patton, World War II Commander, 3rd Army
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