The parallel between being a parent and a leader
Having completed the IEDC curriculum interwoven with so many brilliant quotes and lessons on leadership and knowing that all of the Alumni have long years of business experience behind, makes it no easy task to provide an insightful leadership experience to such audience. Yet, I guess many of us learn new lessons and sometimes find inspiration from strange unexpected places. For me, the parallel between being a parent and a leader was something that taught me quite a few valuable lessons …
Become a role model
For example, it was not until I got few kids of my own until I finally understood that people (and kids for that matter) learn to act in a certain manner from what they see, not from what they are being told. So the only way to make people behave in a certain way is to consistently act in that very same way, particularly in the hardest moments of business and life. And even more, just as kids need a parent whom they can undoubtedly trust, so do people in organizations need such a leader. A parent leader who will set the frames and then give freedom within these frames overseeing the growth of his people which would eventually lead to the formation of fully independent individuals.
What we do is meaningful
And as people in organizations (just like kids) grow mature, they need more than just learning. They need to know that what they do is meaningful, that it is good not only for them and the company, but also for their colleagues, the customers, the society as a whole. It is the job of the leader to make sure that people can see, feel and embrace this.
In our organization we tried to summarize this philosophy of work in one sentence: “We work for the company as if it were our family company; we treat colleagues and users the way we would like to be treated by them!”
Good business results than become not the main target but a natural consequence of this way of work. And however enthusiastic, strange or unconventional it may sound, my leadership experience so far has proved it particularly correct.
Nenad Mickoski is an EMBA 2010, Macedonia