05 Nov Take Me to your parent
When leading others, do you sometimes feel like a parent? If you do, one expert says that you might be on the right track to becoming a great leader. This blog examines the claim and discusses how you as a leader can parent those in your organization to do amazing things.
In our weekly directors’ meeting, we’ve often joked that we feel like parents to our employees. We address issues that parents commonly help their children deal with – relational issues, immaturity, taking responsibility, etc. Simon Sinek validates this feeling in his TEDx Talk entitled Why Leaders Make You Feel Safe (https://youtu.be/lmyZMtP) . The British-American consultant, speaker and author of several books, including Start with Why and Leaders Eat Last, says, “The closest analogy I can give to what a great leader is, is being a parent.”
Why would he say this? First, Sinek points out that great parents and great leaders have the same goal. Both want their kids or employees to succeed and accomplish great things. To this end, they must create the environment for this to happen. Sinek believes that, just like a parent, great leaders must create a safe environment so employees can focus their energy on working hard and cooperating with one another. When children have an insecure home life, it is hard for them to thrive. Similarly, Sinek believes that when employees don’t feel safe – when they fear for their job, are in a toxic environment, or have leaders with self-serving interests – morale bottoms out. The employees shift their focus to protecting themselves rather than working toward the success of the organization.
To help facilitate that goal, Sinek points out, one company goes so far as to provide lifetime employment where employees cannot be fired for performance issues. Parents wouldn’t fire kids when the kids mess up or when times are financially tough! Instead, parents teach their children and get creative to overcome financial struggles. Sinek advocates that great leaders should put their people above the bottom line, which allows those under them to feel safe and concentrate on succeeding.
Parenting Your employees
Most of us don’t desire to parent someone else’s kid; however, we want those under us to succeed. Here are some parenting principles that can be used to “parent” our organizational family to success:
- Know your employees. If you don’t, you won’t be aware of strengths, weaknesses, needs, accomplishments to celebrate, etc. As you know the people of your organization, they will feel cared for and connected.
- Create the culture. Set the tone for how employees interact with each other and work together to achieve the goals.
- Discipline when necessary. Don’t let negative behavior go unchecked! Just like good-hearted parents, don’t do this to be punitive, but to correct and train your employees.
- Create opportunities to have fun. This creates a sense of camaraderie, a feeling of joy, and a desire to be together.
Ask yourself, what kind of a leader do you aspire to be? See your followers through the lens of a wise parent and show that you care about them! Doing this will help create a safe environment, giving your employees the opportunity to do amazing things as one big, happy family. Will there be struggles? It wouldn’t be a family if there weren’t. But when the culture is good, struggles are an opportunity to come together and overcome!