Families thrive on healthy leadership built on respect, positive modeling, and encouragement. What makes a parent a good leader? The Free On line dictionary defines a leader as one who is in charge or in command of others. But that kind of power-centered leadership coerces cooperation that tends to last only as long as there is supervision and enforcement. It breeds fear and sneakiness and dulls the innate thirst for learning.
An effective parent is a leader who influences and empowers everyone in the family through respect not intimidation. The family works as a team that values and grows the talents of all members. Parents model a willingness to be a beginner, to take on challenges and to struggle through to mastery. This creates a space where each person flourishes and persistence is encouraged. Children adopt the parental model of life-as-a-learning-conversation. Confident that their parents will encourage their efforts, kids become brave. Once the shame and fear of failure are eliminated, they become inspired by the adventure of learning.
Parents who nurture their families with a strong partnership of mutual support generate a balance in leadership. They establish family values that are clearly defined and actively lived. Like Robert’s Rules of Order, one makes a suggestion and the other “seconds” it. That united front creates stability that benefits the entire family.
We’ve highlighted two styles of leadership. One focuses on modeling respectful leadership. The other thrives on control. How do you act as a leader? How do you invite your children to grow and practice being leaders?