Being a father may seem to have absolutely nothing to do with running a business. But we feel there is in fact, a direct commonality.
As a father you are essentially a leader and leaders learn hard lessons as they gather their troupes and forge forward into battle. Okay, we are being a little bit dramatic, but taking one’s team into a sales call and marching your band of kids to a birthday party do teeter on the same precarious wall.
One needs to have your foot on the peddle at all times, in both situations. Should anyone step out of line, you have to drag them back to reality, smoothing over the ruffled surface. If a harsh word is uttered, you would have to step in and make nice, before one of the opposing team members should get upset.
So, let’s see exactly what other business lessons can be taken from fatherhood.
While your staff may not like to see it that way, you as the leader and boss have to discipline them when they step out of line. Sure, you may not be whipping out your belt on an unsuspecting behind (oh, right, wait, we don’t do that sort of disciplining anymore) Okay, you may not be taking away their TV privileges, but you certainly will be taking away other niceties, like bonuses, days off and hours of tea breaks. Both staff and kids need to know just who is in control, but that you are still a fair person in the end.
Everyone develops and learns at their own pace, and when it comes to teaching others, whether they be adults or kids, one has to have patience. Patience truly is a virtue, and you have to have patience with yourself as you learn to have patience. There will be times when you will snap (generally not a pretty sight) and you will have to apologise for that outburst, but as time goes by, you will learn to rein it all in, take a deep breath or two, and wait it out.
This may seem like an odd lesson to learn. But, learning to have a sense of humour, especially in times of crisis, can come in handy. It can calm you down, bring your heart rate to a normal level, and just help you look at a possibly traumatic, if not devastating situation, in a more rose-tinted manner.
Many confuse empathy with sympathy. One needs to be very aware of the difference, in business and as a father. Understanding someone else’s plight and misfortune is one thing, feeling for them as if you were in the same situation is quite another. It is not to say that you cannot feel for someone’s issues, but in order to respond and advise on the matter accordingly, one has to have a degree of empathy. On one side you don’t want to come across as uncaring, and on the other side, you don’t want to be seen as too involved. Yes, with children, especially your own, it is hard not to get emotionally connected, but as it is with your staff, taking a step back from the mayhem and calmly assessing, is always a good standpoint to be.
As we celebrate fathers and the many men who have raised children in this world, we hope to learn the many lessons that come from leading the leaders of the future.