For some, the concept of "leadership at home" might sound peculiar, as many view leadership only in the professional domain. But that depends on your definition of leadership.
In my decades of leading leadership development programs, I've found that when people describe a leader, they rarely focus on what the person does, what they manage, or how many people report to them. Instead, they talk about character. Leadership isn't just about being competent in your field; it's about your character as an individual which is harder to build. How do you show up under pressure? Are you readily willing to admit mistakes? Are you willing to show a chink in your armour, to show your imperfections and yet still continue to lead with confidence?
Leadership Isn't a 9-to-5 Job; It's Who You Are
Over my decades in leadership development, I've learned invaluable lessons that apply both in the boardroom and the living room. Leadership isn't confined to office hours; it's a 24/7 commitment to how you live your life. Whether you're interacting with family, strangers, or your teenagers, the opportunity to lead is always present.
Speaking of teenagers, my own journey in leadership and executive coaching has made me a better parent. The skills that make me effective in the corporate world - listening, staying grounded, being consistent and accountable to my behaviors - have also been invaluable in navigating the complexities of modern parenting.
The Interplay of Professional and Personal Leadership
I sometimes think that the hardest place to be a leader is at home, because of the nature of our intimate relationships and living with each other everyday. If you're a strong leader in your personal life—living with integrity and embodying the qualities of great leadership—chances are you'll mirror those traits in your professional life.
It's often easier to put on a leadership persona at work, where we want to look professional and are motivated by the desire to impress others. But when we get home, drained from the day, we sometimes offer less than our best selves to our families. That's why I like to coach my clients on how to consistently show up as a leader at home or work.
Or perhaps you have the opposite experience - where you’re a great parent, but somehow lose your voice and sense of self at work. Could your office environment be laden with politics and you find it difficult to be authentic?
So, how do you lead at work and at home? When was the last time you were fully present to the person in front of you? Is there a disparity in how you show up in these two crucial areas of your life?